Articles By Mitch Light

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Georgia dropped five spots in the power rankings after losing at home to Missouri. The Bulldogs have some quality wins, but this is not the same team — due largely to injuries — that beat South Carolina and LSU earlier in the season. Missouri jumped from seventh to fifth after its win in Athens, and Arkansas dropped from 11th to 12th after losing badly at home to South Carolina. Meanwhile, LSU is now No. 2 after its impressive victory over Florida.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: ACC |Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12  

RankTeamLWAnalysis
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Alabama (6-0, 3-0): Alabama was dominant in all phases during a 48-7 win over Kentucky in Lexington. After being held scoreless on their first three possessions (one punt and two lost fumbles), the Crimson Tide scored on their final eight drives, with six touchdowns and two field goals. AJ McCarron threw for 359 yards to lead an offense that rolled up 668 total yards and picked up 37 first downs. T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake each had over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama has now won 17 straight games away from home. Next Week: Arkansas

23LSU (6-1, 3-1): In a game that hearkened back to the SEC of 2010, LSU beat Florida 17-6 in a defensive struggle that featured only two touchdowns and a combined 568 yards of offense. The Tigers limited Florida to 238 yards (only 3.6 per play) and did not allow a drive longer than 50 yards after the first quarter. LSU scored both of its touchdowns in the second quarter, both on one-yard runs — by J.C. Copeland and Anthony Jennings. Jeremy Hill rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries, giving him four 100-yard games this season. LSU is now bowl-eligible for the 14th straight season. Next Week: at Ole Miss
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Texas A&M (5-1, 3-1): The Aggies had to overcome an apparent knee injury to Johnny Manziel (don’t worry, he’s fine) and two fourth-quarter deficits but managed to escape Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a 41-38 win over Ole Miss. Manziel played like a Heisman Trophy winner, completing 31-of-39 passes for 346 yards and rushing for a game-high 113 yards and two touchdowns. Texas A&M tied the game at 38-38 on a 6-yard run by Manziel with 3:41 remaining and won it on a 33-yard field goal by Josh Lambo as the clock expired. Next Week: Auburn

45South Carolina (5-1, 2-1): After a couple of less-than-satisfying wins in league play — at home over Vanderbilt and Kentucky — the Gamecocks no doubt feel great about their performance in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon. South Carolina fell behind 7-0 early in the first quarter but then scored the game’s final 52 points to cruise to the easy win. The Gamecocks outgained Arkansas 537-to-248 and had 32 to first downs to seven for the Hogs. Sophomore tailback Mike Davis, perhaps the nation’s most underrated offensive player, had another big game, rushing for 118 yards and 19 carries. Next Week: at Tennessee
57Missouri (6-0, 2-0): The Tigers followed up their dominating win at Vanderbilt with an impressive showing in Athens to remain undefeated, both overall and in league play. Missouri jumped out to a 28-10 lead at halftime and held on to beat Georgia 41-26 in a breakthrough SEC win for Gary Pinkel’s program. The Tigers, however, will have to play without star quarterback James Franklin for the foreseeable future. Franklin, who battled shoulder and knee issues last season, separated his shoulder in the second half on Saturday. Mizzou is very high on redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, but losing Franklin is a huge blow. Next Week: Florida
66Florida (4-2, 3-1): Florida became the first team to slow down LSU’s suddenly high-powered attack, but the Gators were unable to muster enough offense of their own to seriously challenge the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Florida had only 240 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown in a 17-6 loss. Tyler Murphy was decent at quarterback, but he averaged only 4.3 yards on his 27 attempts and did not have a completion longer than 20 yards. Florida fans got their first long look at true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor (son of Fred), who rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries. Next Week: at Missouri
72Georgia (4-2, 3-1): Maybe it was the injuries — or maybe Missouri was just better. But the result was a disheartening 41-26 loss at home that knocked the Bulldogs out of the national title race. Georgia had 454 yards of offense but committed four turnovers, including an Aaron Murray fumble on a sack in the second quarter that resulted in a Missouri touchdown. With Todd Gurley still out with an ankle injury, true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas carried the rushing load, combining to run for 157 yards on 26 carries. Next: at Vanderbilt 
88Auburn (5-1, 2-1): As expected, Auburn had little trouble with Western Carolina, one of the worst FCS teams in the nation. The big story for the Tigers was Gus Malzahan’s decision to start true freshman Jeremy Johnson at quarterback. With starter Nick Marshall slowed by an injury, Malzahn went with Johnson, who had yet to play in a game, over sophomore Jonathan Wallace. In his debut, Johnson completed 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Marshall is expected back for next week’s trip to Texas A&M. Next Week: at Texas A&M
99Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3): For the second straight season, Ole Miss lost a fourth-quarter lead at home to Texas A&M. Last year, the Rebels led by 10 points for an eight-minute stretch only to watch Johnny Manziel lead A&M to two scores in the final seven minutes. On Saturday night, Ole Miss held leads of 31-24 and 38-31 but was unable to come up with a defensive stop when it mattered most. Bo Wallace played well at quarterback (throwing for 301 yards and two scores) but had a costly interception in the red zone. Barry Brunetti, the “running” option at quarterback, completed 3-of-4 attempts for 28 yards and his first two touchdown passes of the season. Next Week: LSU
1010Tennessee (3-3, 0-2): Tennessee did not play on Saturday. The Vols’ next four games includes home games against South Carolina and Auburn sandwiched around trips to Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: South Carolina
1112Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3): The Commodores had the week off after losing at home to Missouri. Over the next four weeks, James Franklin’s club plays Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida — the latter two on the road. Next Week: Georgia 
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Arkansas (3-4, 0-3): The good news: Arkansas led 7-0 after Alex Collins scored from six yards out on the opening possession of the game. The bad news: South Carolina proceeded to outscore the Hogs 52-0 the rest of the way. The final numbers were not pretty: Arkansas had 248 yards of offense (only 30 through the air) and picked up seven first downs. South Carolina, on the other hand, rolled up 537 total yards and had 32 first downs. The Razorbacks have had less 300 yards off offense in three of their last four games. Next Week: at Alabama

1313Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2): Dan Mullen’s team dodged the upset, holding on to beat Bowling Green 21-20 in Starkville. Dak Prescott only threw for 75 yards, but he led the Mississippi State rushing attack with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Tyler Russell made his first start since opening day and completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards. In his two games since returning from a concussion, Russell is 19-of-25 for 248 yards. The Bulldogs completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-1 record. Next Week: Bye
1414Kentucky (3-4, 0-4): The Wildcats held No. 1 Alabama scoreless for one quarter — but not much else went well for Mark Stoops’ club. Kentucky managed only 170 yards of offense — the third time UK has had less than 200 yards in the past two seasons — en route to its 10th consecutive SEC loss. Starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return. Maxwell Smith played the rest of the way and completed 7-of-16 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Next Week: Bye

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

5th Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

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2013 SEC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
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Missouri was the talk of the SEC during the daylight hours, but Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M grabbed the headlines late in the day with a last-second win against Ole Miss. Elsewhere, LSU topped Florida in an old-school defensive struggle, Alabama smothered Kentucky and South Carolina ruined homecoming at Arkansas.

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

Fifth Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

Teaser:
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We’ll find out if a great defense (Florida) can stop a great offense (LSU) on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium. Elsewhere, undefeated Missouri heads to Athens to face banged up — but still talented — Georgia in a key SEC East battle, and Texas A&M takes its road show to Ole Miss to take on the struggling Rebels.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big Ten |Big 12Pac-12

SEC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (+7.5) at LSU (3:30 ET, CBS)
Two of the hottest quarterbacks in the SEC will be on display Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Florida’s Tyler Murphy, a third-year sophomore who had not thrown a pass in college until three weeks ago, has been terrific in relief of injured starter Jeff Driskel. He is completing 72.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and only one interception. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger is thriving under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, leading the SEC in touchdown passes (15) and yards per attempt (11.1) while ranking third in yards per game (289.7) and fourth in completion percentage (68.2). This week, however, Mettenberger will be facing one of the nation’s elite secondaries. The Gators are allowing a league-low 152.0 passing yards per game, and opposing quarterbacks are averaging only 4.6 yards per attempt, third-lowest in the nation. Florida also excels at stopping the run, allowing a league-low 65.0 yards per game and 2.78 yards per attempt. This will be a huge challenge for the much-improved LSU offense.

2. Missouri (+8) at Georgia (12:00 ET, ESPN)
Missouri was extremely sharp on offense Saturday, scoring on its first eight possessions en route to a 51-28 win in Nashville. The Tigers feature one of the nation’s more underrated quarterbacks in James Franklin and have talent and depth at both running back and wide receiver. Going forward, this team’s challenge will be on defense. Are the Tigers good enough on that side of the ball to challenge in the SEC East? The guess right now is no, but that doesn’t mean this team can’t win nine or 10 games. This week, Mizzou heads to Athens to face a wounded Georgia team that will be without some of its key playmakers on offense. The Bulldogs will have to find a way to score some points, because the defense, to this point, has not proven it can slow down a quality offense.

3. Texas A&M (-6.5) at Ole Miss (8:30 ET ESPN)
The Rebels have been humbled the past two weeks, losing 25–0 at Alabama and 30–22 at Auburn. The offense, so efficient in the first three weeks of the season, has scored only two touchdowns in the last eight quarters. Bo Wallace, who did not throw an interception in the first two games, was picked off twice on Saturday. Hugh Freeze must get things fixed on offense in a hurry with Texas A&M rolling into town. The Aggies have some issues on defense, but this team has no trouble scoring points. Ole Miss will have to score at least 40 points to win this game.

4. South Carolina (-5.5) at Arkansas (12:21 ET SEC TV)
South Carolina bounced back from its loss at Georgia by winning three straight. But none of the three wins was particularly satisfying. The Gamecocks lost big leads in home wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky and had to overcome a slow start and poor finish to beat UCF by three points in Orlando. Steve Spurrier is eager to see his team play a complete game. Arkansas has struggled against the better teams on its schedule, with losses to Rutgers, Texas A&M and Florida the past three weeks. The Hogs are built to run the ball but only netted 101 yards against Rutgers and 111 against Florida. They were productive against a suspect Texas A&M defense but still lost by 12 points at home. Despite the Hogs’ deficiencies, this is a tough spot for South Carolina — with or without Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks are 2-8 at Arkansas since the two schools joined the SEC in 1991.

5. Bowling Green (+10.5) at Mississippi State (7:30 ET FSN)
Bowling Green is one of the top teams in the MAC, but the Falcons struggled in their only game to date against a team from an AQ conference, losing 42-10 at Indiana in mid-September. Mississippi State has played relatively well since laying an egg vs. Oklahoma State in Week 1 but doesn’t have much to show for it. The Bulldogs lost a late lead in a 24-20 loss at Auburn and battled LSU for three quarters on Saturday night before collapsing in the fourth. In between, MSU pounded Troy 62-7 in Starkville. This is a decent team that is going to have a tough time finding six wins against a very difficult schedule.

6. Alabama (-27.5) at Kentucky (7 ET ESPN2)
Kentucky has played three straight top-15 teams, and the results have been better than many Wildcats fans might have expected — a 14-point loss to Louisville, a 17-point loss to Florida and a seven-point loss to South Carolina. Now, however, the competition gets ramped up another notch as No. 1 Alabama comes to town. The Crimson Tide struggled to stop Texas A&M’s high-powered attack but have given up only one touchdown — on a 77-yard run in the opener vs. Virginia Tech — in its other four games. Kentucky will be fortunate to score more than 10 points in this game.

7. Western Carolina (+43.5) at Auburn (2 ET, PPV)
Auburn should have little trouble picking up win No. 6 this Saturday. Western Carolina is 1-5 overall, with its only win by seven points over Mars Hill, a Division II school. In fact, the Catamounts are 3-31 in their last 34 games with all three wins coming against Mars Hill.

5 Pivotal Players

Florida’s cornerbacks
The nation’s best set of cornerbacks will be tasked with slowing down arguably the top wide receiver duo in the nation. Florida lists Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson as its starters at corner, but true freshman Vernon Hargreaves III plays a ton and is considered by many to be the best in the bunch. LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are both averaging over 100 yards per game and have combined to catch 13 touchdown passes. It will be fun to watch these two elite units battle on Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Johnson has been a beast on the interior of the line for an LSU defense that is experiencing some growing pains in a year of transition. Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy has been a pleasant surprise since taking over for Jeff Driskel, but the Gators’ first priority will be to establish the run. Johnson and the rest of the LSU defensive front will try to take that away and force Murphy to make plays with his arm in one of the most hostile environments in college football.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
With his cast of healthy skill position players dwindling each week, Murray is being asked to play nearly flawless football to keep Georgia in the national title hunt. This week, he will have to be at his best because Georgia will have to score a bunch of points to beat red-hot Missouri. The Bulldogs have listed Todd Gurley atop the depth chart, but Mark Richt didn’t sound confident on Tuesday that his star tailback would be ready to play. That would leave true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas to carry the rushing load. At receiver, the Dawgs will be without three of their top players, with Malcom Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett all sidelined with injuries.

Missouri’s WRs
James Franklin is grabbing the headlines for resurgent Missouri, but the Tigers boast a quality group of wideouts — all with good size — that puts a lot of pressure on the defense. This week, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington & Co. will face a Georgia defense that has struggled to stop the pass (against some very good offenses). Georgia ranks 12th in the SEC in pass defense (264.6 ypg) and is allowing a league-high 8.1 yards per passing attempt. If Mizzou’s wideouts can make plays down the field, the Tigers’ trio of smallish tailbacks will have plenty of room to operate.

Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
For the first four games of his junior season, Bo Wallace did not throw an interception. But last week, the Bad Bo Wallace — the one who led the nation with 17 interceptions in 2012 — resurfaced in a 30-22 loss at Auburn. Wallace threw for a season-high 336 yards but completed only 52.1 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. He will have to play very well on Saturday against a Texas A&M team that is averaging just under seven touchdowns per game. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Missouri at Georgia

Georgia 28-21

Georgia 34-31Georgia 34-27Georgia 47-40
S. Carolina at ArkansasS. Carolina 35-24S. Carolina 28-20S. Carolina 31-27Arkansas 28-20
W. Carolina at Auburn

Auburn 49-7

Auburn 44-7Auburn 52-3Auburn 54-0
Florida at LSU

LSU 24-17

LSU 27-21LSU 27-24Florida 24-21
Alabama at Kentucky

Alabama 42-10

Alabama 44-11Alabama 45-10Alabama 34-14
Bowling Green at Miss. St.Miss. St. 35-21Miss. St. 34-20Miss. St. 38-24Miss. St. 27-10
Texas A&M at Ole Miss

A&M 42-28

A&M 44-40A&M 45-38A&M 37-27
Last Week7-06-15-25-2
Season51-649-850-749-8

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 08:00
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There was high drama in Knoxville, where Georgia survived a scare in overtime at Neyland Stadium. Elsewhere, the SEC’s three teams named Tigers won in impressive fashion: Missouri at Vanderbilt, LSU at Mississippi State and Auburn at home vs. Ole Miss.

Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Mettenberger’s sensational senior season continues. The Tigers’ strong-armed quarterback completed 25-of-29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns — both to Odell Beckham — in LSU’s 59-26 win at Mississippi State. For the season, Mettenberger is completing 68.2 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. In the last two weeks, he has thrown for 712 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Carl Lawson, Auburn
One of the top recruits in the Class of 2013, Lawson enjoyed the finest game of his young career in Auburn’s 30-22 win over Ole Miss. The defensive end from Georgia recorded six tackles (including two sacks) to key an Auburn defense that limited Ole Miss to only two touchdowns.  

Team of the Week: Missouri
After rolling through its non-conference schedule with relative ease, Missouri made a statement in its SEC opener, drilling Vanderbilt 51-28 in Nashville. Led by senior quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers jumped out to leads of 20-0 and 30-7 in the first half and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Mizzou, which went 2-6 in its SEC debut in 2012, currently ranks seventh in the nation in total offense (543.8 ypg) and eighth in scoring offense (46.6 ppg). Franklin is completing 67.9 percent of his passes and has 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
He has outstanding personnel at his disposal, but Cameron has made a huge impact in his first season at LSU. On Saturday, the Tigers rolled up 563 yards of offense on an impressive 8.3 per-play average. LSU had 340 yards passing and 223 on the ground, and converted 6-of-11 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down.

Freshman of the Week: J.J. Green, Georgia   
Green, a true freshman tailback who had a total of five carries in the first four games, was forced into action due to injuries to Todd Gurley (last week) and Keith Marshall (in the first quarter). He responded with 129 yards on 17 carries in the Bulldogs’ 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee. Green’s biggest run of the day came on Georgia’s final possession in regulation, when he picked up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-1 at the Dawgs’ 34-yard line.

5th Down

• Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal rushed for 148 yards on 28 carries against Georgia and has 317 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Neal’s previous two-game high was 255 yards, last season against Akron (151) and Georgia (104).

• Kentucky’s 28 points at South Carolina were the most for the Wildcats in an SEC road game since a 42-35 loss at Ole Miss in October 2010. On Saturday, UK scored three of its four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

• Ole Miss scored a total of 15 touchdowns in its wins over Vanderbilt, SE Missouri State and Texas but has managed only two touchdowns in losses to Alabama and Auburn.

• Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw for a season-low 93 yards but did plenty of damage with his legs. The former junior college transfer rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries to lead a ground attack that picked up 282 rushing yards.

• Jordan Matthews became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading receiver in the Commodores’ loss to Missouri. The senior now has 2,996 yards receiving and will soon become the fourth player in SEC history to top the 3,000-yard mark.

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Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
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Ole Miss, humbled last week in its 25-0 loss at Alabama, hits the road again, travelling to Jordan-Hare Stadium to face an improved Auburn team that is coming off a bye. In Nashville, Missouri will finally play its first conference game, against a Vanderbilt team desperate for an SEC win after an 0-2 start. Elsewhere, Tennessee hosts surging Georgia; LSU visits Starkville; Florida returns home to face Arkansas; and South Carolina heads to Lexington to play Kentucky.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Week 6 Game Power Rankings

1. Ole Miss (-2.5) at Auburn (7 ET, ESPNU)
We learned last Saturday night that Ole Miss isn’t quite ready to contend for the SEC West title. But one loss — especially when that loss is at Alabama — should not derail the momentum the Rebels grabbed with their 3-0 start. This is still a very good team. Auburn is another program headed in the right direction, but the Tigers are still in the first year of their new regime. The offense, to no one’s surprise, is much improved with Gus Malzahn back in town. Through four games, the Tigers are averaging 439.5 yards and 28.5 points per game — up from 297.8 and 17.5 at the same point last year. This should be highly entertaining.

2. Missouri (+2) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, CSS)
Missouri has cruised to a 4-0 start against a relatively soft non-conference schedule. Now the fun begins for the Tigers, who play eight SEC games over the next nine weeks. On Saturday, Mizzou makes its first trip to Vanderbilt since 1957. Last year, the Tigers outgained the Dores by 100 yards but dropped a 19-15 decision in Columbia. James Franklin — the quarterback, not the coach — enjoyed early success in that game, leading the Tigers down the field with relative ease on two long drives that ended with short field goals. Franklin, however, went down with a knee injury shortly thereafter, and the MU offense struggled the rest of the night. Franklin is now healthy and will be eager to attack a Vanderbilt defense that has had trouble against mobile quarterbacks in recent years. The Commodores have been inconsistent on the offensive end but rolled up over 600 yards last week in a 52-24 win over UAB. 

3. Georgia (-10.5) at Tennessee (3:30 ET, CBS)
Georgia lost nine straight in this series from 1989-99 but has since won nine of the last 13, including three straight. And after looking at both teams’ performances through the first month of the season, there is no reason to believe that won’t be four straight after the Bulldogs’ trip to Neyland Stadium this weekend. Georgia has rebounded from its Week 1 loss at Clemson to post huge wins at home over South Carolina and LSU. The Dawgs haven’t looked great on defense — they are allowing 31.2 points per game — but few teams have played as difficult of an early season schedule. Plus, Tennessee, at this point of Butch Jones’ tenure, doesn’t possess the personnel on offense to put up a big number on most SEC defenses. Georgia must guard against a letdown, but the Bulldogs should win this game with relative ease.

4. Arkansas (+10.5) at Florida (7 ET, ESPN2)
So far so good for Tyler Murphy. One week after coming off the bench to lead Florida past Tennessee in Gainesville, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Gators’ 24-7 win at Kentucky. Those numbers won’t get you in the discussion for All-SEC honors, but it’s probably more than most Florida fans expected from the former 2-star recruit. As we learned last season, the Gators don’t need gaudy stats from their quarterback to win games. Florida’s lack of a downfield passing attack remains a concern, but this is still a team that can challenge Georgia in the SEC East. Arkansas is in the midst of a brutal four-game stretch that includes home games with Texas A&M and South Carolina and road trips to Florida and Alabama.

5. LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State (7 ET, ESPN)
LSU proved once again last week that it might be the most improved offensive team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they proved it in a loss — despite scoring 41 points on the road. One loss will not eliminate LSU from the national title hunt, but this team no longer has any margin for error. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble getting back on track this week, even though they hit the road again. Mississippi State has feasted on inferior opponents but lost to Oklahoma State and Auburn in its only games against BCS conference opponents. Tyler Russell, who has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion against Oklahoma State, is expected back at quarterback for Mississippi State. Still, don’t be surprised to see heavy doses of sophomore Dak Prescott, a dual-threat who played well in relief.

6. Kentucky (+21) at South Carolina (7:30 ET, FSN)
Steve Spurrier was not pleased with his team’s start or finish last week in Orlando. The Gamecocks got the win — 28-25 over UCF — but it was not the type of performance that gave Spurrier confidence his team can compete with the powers in the SEC. He can’t, however, have many complaints about Mike Davis, his sophomore tailback. Davis leads the SEC in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and has done so on a healthy 7.2-yard average. In a surprise, the Gamecocks could have quarterback Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder in the UCF game, back for Saturday's matchup. If Shaw can't go, Dylan Thompson is an experienced backup, but he completed less than 50 percent of his passes against UCF. Kentucky is struggling to get much going on offense in the first year of the Mark Stoops era. This team has some decent pieces on defense, but it’s hard to envision the Cats scoring enough to make Carolina sweat.

7. Georgia State (+55.5) at Alabama (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Alabama steps out of SEC play for what should be little more than a scrimmage. Georgia State is 0-4, with three of the four defeats coming against teams from the FCS ranks — and all three of those games were at home. Now, the Panthers head to Tuscaloosa to play the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck.

SEC Week 6 Pivotal Players

Robert Nkemdiche/C.J. Johnson vs. Greg Robinson/Patrick Miller (Ole Miss at Auburn)
The super freshman Nkemdiche and veteran Johnson are a formidable duo on the edge of the Ole Miss defensive line. Charged with stopping them will be Auburn's sophomore tackle tandem of Robinson and Miller. The Tigers have been solid up front, allowing just 4.0 sacks in 2013, and the Rebels have struggled to get pressure (100th in sacks nationally). To hold serve on the road, the Rebs need to disrupt the quarterback and hold their ground against Tre Mason and the Tigers’ running game.

Alex Collins vs. Antonio Morrison (Arkansas at Florida)
Jonathan Williams will be a heavy factor in the backfield for the Hogs as well, but his carries have decreased in every game this season. Collins, a freshman from Florida, has quickly shown why he was so highly touted as his 119.4 rushing yards per game rank No. 2 in the SEC. He returns to his home state and gets to face one of the most vicious hitters in the nation in Antonio Morrison. The rest of the Gators’ front seven will be tough to move as well, but watching these two underclassmen battle all day will be fun for all parties involved.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Georgia St. at Alabama 

Alabama 63-3

Alabama 41-13

Alabama 59-3

Alabama 49-0

Georgia at Tennessee 

Georgia 35-14

Georgia 34-17

Georgia 38-20

Georgia 34-14

Arkansas at Florida 

Florida 21-14

Florida 27-10

Florida 27-13

Florida 27-20

LSU at Mississippi St. 

LSU 35-10

LSU 31-20

LSU 34-20

LSU 33-17

Ole Miss at Auburn 

Auburn 28-21

Auburn 31-30

Ole Miss 31-27

Ole Miss 31-21

Missouri at Vanderbilt  

Missouri 21-14

Vanderbilt 34-28

Vanderbilt 27-24

Vanderbilt 31-28

Kentucky at S. Carolina 

S. Carolina 35-7

S. Carolina 37-17

S. Carolina 38-13

S. Carolina 24-10
Last Week7-17-18-08-0
Season44-643-745-544-6

 

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Earlier this week, Athlon Sports broke down the top 50 coaches in college basketball for 2013-14.

This isn’t necessarily the flip side to that, but coaches certainly would rather be on that list than this one. The coaches on this list have been hot commodities at one point and all of have been successful. After all, they all had to get their current jobs before starting to feel the pressure.

And the pressure is clear for these 15 coaches as the enter the 2013-14 season.

Relatively speaking, this was a quiet season for coaching moves in the SEC and Pac-12 (outside of Los Angeles, that is). That means a handful of coaches in those leagues specifically are on the hot seat.

But the most intriguing hot seat may be that of Texas coach Rick Barnes. The overall coaching record for the Longhorns coach is impressive, despite a CBI appearance last season. But there's still a sense the program has underachieved for its talent in recent years. Will Barnes begin to feel the heat as his counterpart with the football program has?

Top 15 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013-14

Tony Barbee, Auburn
Two things have been constant in Barbee’s three seasons at Auburn: roster turnover and losing. The Tigers are 35–59 overall and 12–38 in the SEC under his watch and are picked to finish last in the league this season.

Rick Barnes, Texas
It’s tough to put a coach who led his school to 14 straight NCAA Tournament invites (1999-2012) on the hot seat, but Barnes is under pressure to win big at Texas. The Longhorns went 7–11 in the Big 12 last season and have won fewer than 10 league games in four of the last five seasons. He has coached 10 first-round NBA Draft picks since 2000 yet has only reached one Final Four at Texas.

Ben Braun, Rice
It’s not easy to win at Rice, but Braun has struggled to keep the Owls competitive in a bad Conference USA in recent years. After surging to an 8–8 league mark in ’11-12, the Owls slumped to 1–15 last season. He is 56–103 overall and 19–61 in the league in five seasons.

Ken Bone, Washington State
After winning big at Portland State, Bone appeared to be a good fit at Washington State. In Year 2, he won 22 games overall and went 9–9 in the league, but he is just 32–37 overall and 11–25 in the Pac-12 in the last two seasons.

Brad Brownell, Clemson
Brownell has a strong reputation and did well in stops at UNC Wilmington and Wright State, but the Tigers are trending in the wrong direction. After going 17–15 in the ACC in his first two seasons (including an NCAA invite in ’10-11), Clemson slumped to 5–13 last season and is picked to finish near the bottom of the league this year.

Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons showed some signs of life last season in Year 3 of the Bzdelik era, but a 6–12 record in the ACC won’t please a fan base that grew accustomed to annual trips to the NCAA Tournament in the 1990s and 2000s. Bzdelik is 11–39 in the ACC at Wake and 21–77 in league play in his last six seasons as a head coach, at Colorado and Wake.

Johnny Dawkins, Stanford
The numbers aren’t awful (93–73 overall, 39–51 Pac-12), but it’s hard to look past this damaging stat: Stanford made the NCAA Tournament 13 times in the 14 years before Dawkins was hired but has not been to the NCAAs in his five seasons on the job.

Mark Fox, Georgia
Fox has managed a .500 SEC record or better in two of his four seasons at Georgia, but he has yet to win a postseason game (one NCAA Tournament bid) and has a 28–38 mark in the league. Last year, he had the SEC Player of the Year (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) on his roster yet had a losing record.

Tom Pecora, Fordham
Pecora’s move from Long Island (Hofstra) to the Bronx (Fordham) hasn’t gone well. The Rams are 24–64 overall and 7–41 in the A-10 —with three straight 14th-place finishes — in his three seasons.

Buzz Peterson, UNC Wilmington
Peterson’s sixth stop as a head coach (including two stints at Appalachian State) could be his last. The former North Carolina Tar Heel is 33–57 overall and 17–37 in the Colonial in three seasons in Wilmington. The prospects for ’13-14 aren’t too bright.

Oliver Purnell, DePaul
Purnell has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game in 25 seasons as a Division I head coach. That dubious streak isn’t likely to end anytime soon. DePaul is 30–64 overall and 6–48 in the Big East in his three seasons as the head coach. The Blue Demons will have a tough time avoiding a last-place finish in the new-look Big East.

Eric Reveno, Portland
He’s a good follow on Twitter, but Reveno needs to start winning more games. The Pilots had a nice run in the late 2000s, but are 18–44 overall and 7–25 in the WCC over the last two seasons.

Keith Richard, Louisiana-Monroe
It’s never easy to fire an alum, but Richard has really struggled in his three seasons at Monroe, with an overall mark of 14–73 and a 7–45 record in the Sun Belt.

Craig Robinson, Oregon State
Oregon State is one of the toughest jobs in a high-major conference, but Robinson will need to show progress at some point. He is 31–59 in the Pac-12 in five seasons, with a high-water mark of 8–10 in Year 2.

Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Sendek has guided Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament only once in his seven seasons in Tempe. Expectations are high this season — if the ASU fails to make the NCAAs, Sendek could be out of a job.

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Week 2 in college football is highlighted by Notre Dame’s trip to Michigan, the South Carolina-Georgia clash in Athens and Florida’s visit to South Florida to play Miami.

Friday

No. 52 UCF at No. 120 FIU
FIU’s decision to hire Ron Turner, who had not coached in college since 2004, was very curious. His return to the collegiate sidelines did not go well; the Panthers lost at Maryland 43–10 in Week 1. Expect a similar result this week, even at home.
UCF 38-8

No. 68 Wake Forest at No. 83 Boston College
Wake Forest was dominant defensively in its opener, holding Presbyterian to 151 total yards in a 31-7 win. Boston College was trailing FCS foe Villanova 14-7 at the half but controlled the final two quarters and won in Steve Addazio’s debut, 24-14. These teams are evenly matched.
Boston College 20-17

Saturday

No. 88 San Diego State at No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State fans might not have been thrilled with the play of their team in Week 1, but at least the Buckeyes won the game. San Diego State, on the other hand, lost at home to Eastern Illinois, 40-19. Aztec quarterback Adam Dingwell threw 36 incomplete passes in the game. That’s a lot.
Ohio State 41-10

No. 3 Oregon at No. 50 Virginia
It’s been three full years since the Ducks last played a game east of the Mississippi River. That day went well: Oregon blasted Tennessee 48–13 in Neyland Stadium, and it would be a significant surprise if the result was much different this weekend in Charlottesville.
Oregon 28-6

South Carolina State at No. 4 Clemson
Clemson is fresh off one of its biggest wins in the past three decades. Even if the Tigers are a bit sluggish, they will have no problem with South Carolina State. The Bulldogs lost to Coastal Carolina 27-20 last week.
Clemson 48-0

No. 5 South Carolina at No. 6 Georgia
Georgia missed a great opportunity last week in Clemson, but there is no shame in losing by three points on the road to a top-five team. Georgia is still explosive on offense — the Dawgs averaged 7.8 yards per play last week — and should be able to score enough to win this game.
Georgia 31-21

No. 60 San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford
Stanford lost three straight in this series from 1998-2000 but has since won nine of the past 10. Last year, however, the Cardinal had to sweat, holding on for a 20-17 win. San Jose State’s David Fales is a top-flight quarterback, but the Spartans don’t match up well at any other position.
Stanford 31-14

No. 108 UAB at No. 8 LSU
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 
LSU 41-0

Sam Houston State at No. 9 Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets the start for the first time this season. That’s about the only intrigue in this game. Sam Houston State is a pretty good team — the Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 78-0 win over Houston Baptist — but this shouldn’t be close.
Texas A&M 55-10

Eastern Kentucky at No. 10 Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater was brilliant in the Cards’ win over Ohio on Sunday. Bridgewater likely will be brilliant in every game this season. Partly because he’s a very, very good quarterback and partly because he won’t face too many quality defenses.
Louisville 41-13

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 13 Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan meet for the last time for the foreseeable future. These two Midwest rivals have played in all but six seasons dating back to 1978, but due to Big Ten expansion (Michigan will begin playing nine conference games in 2014) and Notre Dame’s commitment to playing five ACC teams each season, this game no longer fits into either team’s schedule. Each of the last four meetings between these teams has been decided by seven points or less. This game should be no different.
Michigan 24-20

No. 12 Florida at No. 29 Miami (Fla.)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. The Hurricanes won that game 38-33, and have won six of the past seven in the series. Florida, however, is the more talented team this season.
Florida 24-20

No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 105 UTSA 
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will be facing his offensive coordinator during his playing days. Larry Coker, now the head coach at UTSA, was the O.C. at Oklahoma State from 1983-89. The pupil will beat the teacher. Badly.
Oklahoma State 51-14

No. 57 West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma
Credit Dana Holgorsen for being honest. Earlier this week, West Virginia’s coach said: “I’ve been asked a lot if I’m excited about playing Oklahoma Week 2 or if I’d rather play them Week 12. The truth is I’d rather play them never because they’re pretty good.” Holgorsen’s team, on the other hand, wasn’t very good last week. The Mountaineers beat William & Mary 24-17 in Morgantown — and it was as much of a struggle as the final score indicates.
Oklahoma 33-10

No. 17 Texas at No. 51 BYU
You like balance on offense? How about this: Texas had over 350 yards rushing and passing in its 56–7 win over New Mexico State. The Longhorns averaged 9.9 yards per snap en route to a school-record 715 total yards. Things won’t be quite as easy this week. BYU gave up only 223 yards in a 19–16 loss at Virginia.
Texas 24-7

Tennessee Tech at No. 18 Wisconsin
Three Badgers rushed for 100-plus yards in Wisconsin’s 45-0 win over UMass last week. The same three — Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement — should top the century mark once again.
Wisconsin 47-0

SE Louisiana at No. 20 TCU
TCU gets a breather after taking on LSU, one of the most talented teams in the nation, last week. The Frogs put up a good fight, but LSU was simply the better team. This time, TCU will be the better team — by a very wide margin.
TCU 40-13

No. 74 Syracuse at No. 21 Northwestern
Northwestern gave up nearly 600 yards in last year’s opener at the Carrier Dome but somehow found a way to beat the Orange, 42–41. The Wildcats are capable of scoring a bunch of points — they beat Cal 44–30 in the ’13 opener — but this rematch figures to feature fewer fireworks. Syracuse played well in its opener but lost to Penn State, 23–17, at the Meadowlands.
Northwestern 33-24

SE Missouri State at No. 22 Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss 44-7

Cal Poly at No. 23 Fresno State
Fresno State gave up 51 points in Week 1 — and won. Quarterback Derek Carr set school and Mountain West records with 52 completions and 73 attempts while throwing for 456 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers.
Fresno State 47-10

Tennessee-Martin at No. 25 Boise State
Boise State was humbled in a shocking 38-6 loss at Washington last week — the most lopsided defeat of the Chris Petersen era. We don’t know yet if the Broncos are down or if Washington is that good.
Boise State 30-13

No. 113 Southern Miss at No. 27 Nebraska
Nebraska gave up a staggering 602 yards (and 8.1 per play) in last week’s 37–34 win over Wyoming — a team that ranked 70th nationally in total offense. The Huskers have now allowed a total of 1,831 yards in their last three games.
Nebraska 37-20

No. 61 Washington State at No. 28 USC
It’s still early, but Washington State appears to be vastly improved. The Cougars had a chance to tie Auburn in the final five minutes, but Connor Halliday’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. The most positive sign? Washington State rushed for 120 yards on a healthy 5.2-yard clip. Not bad for a team that ranked last in the nation in rushing last year.
USC 27-13

Austin Peay at No. 30 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.
Vanderbilt 51-7

Western Carolina at No. 31 Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas will be able to pad his stats after completing 5-of-26 for 59 yards in the loss to Alabama. Western Carolina gave up 495 yards last week to Middle Tennessee in a 45-24 loss.

Virginia Tech 37-10

No. 94 South Florida at No. 32 Michigan State
Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Western Michigan 41-yard line on the opening possession of the season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio elected to punt rather than see if his offense could pick up one yard against a MAC team. On the next possession, MSU punted on 4th-and-3 from the Western 48-yard line. That is mind-boggling.
Michigan State 31-14

No. 34 Cincinnati at No. 85 Illinois
Cincinnati was very impressive in the first game of the Tommy Tuberville era as the Bearcats recorded a surprisingly easy 42-7 victory over Purdue. With Munchie Legaux at quarterback, UC outgained the Boilermakers 425 to 226 and had four scoring drives of at least 75 yards en route to the decisive win. Illinois scored 42 points and had 464 total yards in the debut of Bill Cubit as the offensive coordinator. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Illini gave up 407 yards and had to sweat through a 42-34 win over Southern Illinois.
Cincinnati 20-10

No. 100 Buffalo at No. 35 Baylor
Baylor averaged 9.6 yards on its 72 plays in a 69-3 win over Wofford. The Bears will score a ton of points this year. Stopping Big 12 teams will be an issue. Stopping Buffalo, however, might not be too difficult.
Baylor 41-20

No. 118 Eastern Michigan at No. 36 Penn State
It looks as though Bill O’Brien made the right call at quarterback: True freshman Christian Hackenberg completed 22-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Nittany Lions’ 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Penn State 28-6

No. 37 Arizona at No. 104 UNLV
Arizona is only favored by 10.5 points — a line that seems a bit low considering that UNLV ranked 95th in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense last year. Arizona might struggle a bit on defense, but the Wildcats know how to score points.
Arizona 41-17

No. 97 Middle Tennessee at No. 38 North Carolina
Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore is expected to play despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Blue Raiders’ win over Western Carolina last week. He will need to be at close to full strength to give Middle Tennessee a chance to win.
North Carolina 38-20

Samford at No. 39 Arkansas
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.
Arkansas 31-0

Stephen F. Austin at No. 41 Texas Tech
It’s the home debut for the rookie head coach (Kliff Kingsbury) and the walk-on freshman quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his first game. Expect more gaudy stats from Mayfield and the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech 51-17

Alcorn State at No. 42 Mississippi State
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.
Mississippi State 41-10

No. 59 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 43 Kansas State
Both teams were disappointing in Week 1. Louisiana-Lafayette lost at Arkansas 34–14, and Kansas State was shocked at home, 24-21, by North Dakota State. These teams last met in Lafayette in 2009, a game won by the Ragin’ Cajuns 17–15.
Kansas State 28-14

No. 103 Arkansas State at No. 44 Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.
Arkansas State 27-21

No. 67 Western Kentucky at No. 45 Tennessee
There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.
Tennessee 31-21

No. 77 Toledo at No. 46 Missouri
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.
Missouri 28-20

Old Dominion at No. 47 Maryland
The Terps are showing signs of significant life early in Year 3 of the Randy Edsall era. C.J. Brown, who missed last season with a torn ACL, completed 20-of-23 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns and added 105 yards and two scores on the ground in Maryland’s 43-10 win over FIU.
Maryland 41-24

Richmond at No. 48 NC State
Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell, who won the preseason quarterback derby at NC State, is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Another transfer, Pete Thomas (Colorado State), will get the start this week when Richmond rolls into town.
NC State 30-13

Norfolk State at No. 49 Rutgers
This is the third meeting in the last seven years between these two schools. The first two did not go well for Norfolk State — the Spartans lost 59-0 in 2007 and 31-0 in 2010. The goal this season: Score a point.
Rutgers 41-3

Portland State at No. 53 California
There was some good and some bad in the Golden Bears’ 44-30 loss at home to Northwestern. Obviously, losing the game was not the desirable result. But true freshman Jared Goff showed some promise, completing 38-of-63 passes for 445 yards with two touchdowns and three INTs. The offense rolled up 548 yards, but that was on 99 offensive plays, and that translates to only 5.5 yards per play. That number needs to improve.
California 38-11

Weber State at No. 55 Utah
It got lost in some of the other games last Thursday — Ole Miss over Vanderbilt and Fresno State over Rutgers — but Utah picked up a quality win in Week 1, beating Utah State 30-26. Sophomore Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two TDs and did not throw an INT.
Utah 31-13

No. 66 Navy at No. 56 Indiana
Navy rallied from nine down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Indiana 31-30 in Annapolis last season. This year, the Hoosiers get the Middies at home — the first of five straight games in Bloomington for IU. Last week, Kevin Wilson’s club exploded for 632 yards in a 73-35 win over Indiana State. This is a very, very good offensive team.
Indiana 38-24

No. 58 Minnesota at No. 121 New Mexico State
Two years ago, in Jerry Kill’s home debut, Minnesota lost to New Mexico State 28-21 in one of the low points for Golden Gopher football in recent memory. It’s time for revenge!
Minnesota 33-17

No. 59 Utah State at No. 79 Air Force
This is a sneaky good game between two solid teams in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Utah State lost its opener, by four points at Utah, but this is a very good team that has a seasoned quarterback in junior Chuckie Keeton.
Utah State 28-21

No. 119 Hawaii at No. 62 Oregon State
Surely, Oregon State can’t be as bad defensively as the Week 1 numbers indicate: The Beavers gave up 625 yards (448 through the air) in a stunning 49-46 loss at home to Eastern Washington. Expect Mike Riley’s team to play much better this weekend.
Oregon State 33-14

No. 63 Bowling Green at No. 101 Kent State
Bowling Green was the pick by Athlon Sports to win the MAC East, and the Falcons looked very good in a surprisingly easy 34-7 win over Tulsa last week. The defense was especially impressive, holding Tulsa to 273 total yards and only one score.
Bowling Green 28-7

No. 92 Colorado State at No. 64 Tulsa
Tulsa really struggled offensively in its loss to Bowling Green, with only 51 yards on the ground and 222 yards in the air. The Golden Hurricane should find yards easier to come by this week against Colorado State. The Rams were torched for 509 yards in the 41-27 loss to rival Colorado.
Tulsa 30-14

Gardner-Webb at No. 70 Marshall
Not many college fans realize that Marshall led the nation in both total offense (534.3 ypg) and scoring offense (40.9 ppg) last season. The Herd picked up where they left off, rolling to a 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) that featured 591 total yards of offense.
Marshall 53-17

No. 71 Duke at No. 96 Memphis
This is an off-the-radar yet intriguing Week 2 game. Duke broke through and reached a bowl game in 2012 for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils need to keep the momentum going. Memphis was vastly improved in the first year of the Justin Fuente era. The Tigers can make a statement with a win over an ACC team.
Memphis 21-20

No. 112 Army at No. 72 Ball State
This is the fourth meeting between these two schools in the past five years. Ball State has won the past two, 48-21 in 2011 in Muncie and 30-22 last year in West Point. The Cardinals, under third-year coach Pete Lembo, should contend in the MAC West. Army, under fifth-year coach Rich Ellerson, will struggle to win more than three games.
Ball State 37-21

Missouri State at No. 76 Iowa
There’s no shame in losing to Northern Illinois, even at home, but Kirk Ferentz really, really needed to get off to a good start. Didn’t happen. The Hawkeyes should have little trouble breaking into the win column this week, but there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Ferentz & Co. next week when they visit Iowa State.
Iowa 27-10

No. 115 Miami (Ohio) at No. 78 Kentucky 
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.
Kentucky 33-17

Central Arkansas at No. 80 Colorado
Mike McIntyre won his first game as the coach at Colorado — and did so in impressive fashion. The Buffs rolled up 509 yards of offense in a 41-27 win over rival Colorado State in Denver. Former Texas Longhorn Connor Wood played well at quarterback, and wideout Paul Richardson, who missed last season with a torn ACL, caught 10 passes for 208 yards.
Colorado 41-20

UC Davis at No. 81 Nevada
Cody Fajardo did his thing (106 yards rushing and 164 yards passing), but the Nevada defense had no answer for the UCLA offense (647 yards) in a 58-20 loss last week. The Wolf Pack should give new coach Brian Polian his first win this week.
Nevada 37-10

Grambling at No. 82 ULM
ULM managed only 166 yards of offense in its 34-0 loss at Oklahoma. Kolton Browning, the Warhawks’ outstanding quarterback, was limited to an average of 3.3 yards on his 39 attempts. Things should be a bit easier this weekend.
ULM 41-10

Indiana State at No. 84 Purdue
It’s tough to find many positives from the Boilermakers’ 42-7 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday. Purdue was outplayed in every phase of the game. The season is still young, but Darrell Hazell’s team needs to show significant improvement — and soon — if it hopes to reach bowl-eligibility.
Purdue 34-10

No. 123 Idaho at No. 86 Wyoming
Wyoming had 602 yards of total offense last week at Nebraska but fell just a bit short, losing 37-34. Brett Smith was sensational for the Cowboys, completing 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards with four touchdowns and one INT. The Pokes figure to have a relatively easy time with a pretty bad Idaho team.
Wyoming 37-10

South Dakota at No. 87 Kansas
We had to wait an extra week to watch Charlie Weis and the junior college-laden Jayhawks in action. Weis’ starting quarterback is Jake Heaps, who once was the No. 1 QB recruit in the nation. If Heaps plays well and some of the junior college transfers on the defensive side of the ball live up to the hype, KU should be significantly improved in 2013.
Kansas 17-10

No. 89 Houston at No. 93 Temple
Houston and Temple are in the same conference — as strange as that might seem. Houston pounded Southern with ease in Week 1 led by a rushing attack that picked up 372 yards on 50 carries. Temple faced a more difficult test and lost 28-6 at Notre Dame. This is a big barometer game for both programs.
Houston 27-20

No. 110 North Texas at No. 90 Ohio
Ohio won at Penn State in Week 1 of the 2012 season. In their ’13 debut, however, the Bobcats had no answer for Louisville and were never in the game. They return home to face a North Texas team that is feeling pretty good about itself after beating Idaho 40-6 last week. A lot of teams, however, will be feeling good about themselves after playing Idaho.
Ohio 30, North Texas 24

Montana State at No. 91 SMU
SMU outgained Texas Tech 490-to-461 last week but lost the game 41-23 due in part to struggles in the red zone. Texas Tech scored on all five trips inside the 20 (three TDs, two FGs); SMU scored on only three of five trips with only one touchdown.
SMU 41-20

Lamar at No. 95 Louisiana Tech
Skip Holtz lost to NC State 40-14 in his debut as the coach at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs, who lost a ton of weapons from last year’s nine-win team, could struggle in their first season in C-USA.
Louisiana Tech 41-17

No. 106 New Mexico at No. 99 UTEP
New Mexico showed signs of progress last season under Bob Davie, but the Lobos’ 2013 season got off to a rough start with a 21-13 loss at home to UTSA. New Mexico’s struggles in the passing game continued (6-of-17 for 84 yards), something that must be fixed if this team is going to take a step forward this fall. UTEP will be playing its first game under new coach Sean Kugler.
UTEP 20-13

Nicholls State at No. 102 Western Michigan
Western Michigan hosts a Nicholls State team that gave up 772 yards and 66 points last week to Oregon. The Broncos should have little trouble evening their record to 1-1.
Western Michigan 41-7

Savannah State at No. 107 Troy
Troy rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat UAB last week. Corey Robinson had an efficient day, completing 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards with one TD and no interceptions.
Troy 30-10

No. 122 South Alabama at No. 109 Tulane
South Alabama lost at home last week 22-21 to Southern Utah. Tulane beat Jackson State 34-7 in the first start for Nick Montana (son of Joe) at quarterback. Montana only completed 6-of-14 passes, but he threw for 144 yards and two scores.
Tulane 27-20

Prairie View A&M at No. 111 Texas State
Texas State continued Southern Miss’ misery (12th straight loss) by beating the Golden Eagles 22-15 on the road last week.
Texas State 34-7

New Hampshire at No. 114 Central Michigan
Central Michigan was dominated on both sides of the ball last week at Michigan. The Chippewas will be tested by a New Hampshire team that won eight games last season.
Central Michigan 31-27

James Madison at No. 116 Akron
Akron returns home after losing badly at UCF last week. The Zips fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter en route to a 38-7 loss. James Madison beat Central Connecticut State 38-14 last Saturday.
James Madison 24-20

Maine at No. 124 UMass
Not a good sign for UMass: The Minutemen are a 3.5-point underdog at home to an FCS school. The 2013 season will not feature many wins for Charley Molnar’s team.
Maine 30-20

Chattanooga at No. 125 Georgia State
Georgia State hired a very good coach in Trent Miles, but the Panthers are a long way away from being competitive in the FBS ranks. Last week, they lost at home, 31-21, to Samford.
Georgia State 22, Chattanooga 20

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

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South Carolina’s trip to Georgia highlights the Week 2 slate in the SEC.  Also, Florida heads to South Florida to play at Miami, and Tennessee hosts Western Kentucky in an intriguing battle of first-year head coaches. In addition, two SEC coaches will be facing their former schools — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn plays host to Arkansas State, and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel takes on Toledo.

Other Week 2 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12


SEC Week 2 Game Power Rankings

1. South Carolina (+3) at Georgia (4:30 ET, ESPN)
Georgia received some bad (though not unexpected) news on Sunday when standout wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Mitchell, who played both ways last season, was expected to be a difference-maker on a great Georgia offense. The Bulldogs, however, still have plenty of talent — they averaged 7.8 yards per play in the loss to Clemson, which was higher than their 7.1 yards that led the nation in 2012. Don’t worry: This team will still score plenty of points. South Carolina was efficient in its weather-delayed 27–10 win over North Carolina. The Gamecocks showed some big-play ability — Connor Shaw hit Shaq Roland for 65 yards on USC’s first possession — and were productive on the ground. They will need to be balanced on offense against a Georgia defense that played relatively well in Week 1 against an elite Clemson offense. 

2. Florida (-3) at Miami (12 ET, ESPN)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. Florida was terrific on defense in its 24–6 win over Toledo in Week 1. The Gators limited a very good (and very experienced) offense to 205 total yards and allowed the Rockets to convert only 1-of-13 on third down. Florida was underwhelming on offense, but it was clear the staff chose to keep things pretty basic. Jeff Driskel completed 17-of-22 passes but only threw for 153 yards and did not have a completion longer than 26 yards. Miami had no trouble with Florida Atlantic in its opener, rolling to a 34–6 win over the Owls. Duke Johnson rushed for 186 yards on 19 carries to lead a balanced attack.

3. Western Kentucky (+13.5) at Tennessee  (12:21 ET, SEC Network)

There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.

4. Arkansas State (+13) at Auburn (7:30 ET, Fox Sports Net)
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Knighten is listed as a quarterback but has been used primarily as a tailback. He could see some Wildcat looks this week. Auburn opened the Gus Malzahn era with a 31–24 win over Washington State. Nick Marshall did some good things in his debut at quarterback, but he only averaged 3.0 yards per carry and 5.2 yards per passing attempt. Those numbers will have to improve.

5. Toledo (+17) at Missouri (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.

6. Miami (Ohio) (+17) at Kentucky (12, Fox Sports Net)
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.

7. UAB (+34.5) at LSU (7 ET, ESPNU)
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 

8. Sam Houston State (+48) at Texas A&M (7 ET, PPV)
Ordinarily this game would have been indistinguishable from the other SEC vs. FCS showdowns (see below), but the fact that Johnny Manziel is involved adds some intrigue to this game. Also, Sam Houston State is a pretty good team. The Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 74–0 win over Houston Baptist.

Note: Due to the poor quality of the opponents, it was impossible to rank the final four games on the SEC schedule, so they all tied as the ninth-most compelling game in the league this week.

T-9. Samford  (+32) at Arkansas (7 ET, PPV)
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.

T-9. Alcorn State (+43) at Mississippi State (3:30 ET, CSS)
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.

T-9. Austin Peay (+46.5) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, CSS)
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.

T-9. SE Missouri State (+49) at Ole Miss (7 ET, PPV)
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.

Week 2 SEC Pivotal Players

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Not much hasn’t gone well for Aaron Murray in his time at Georgia. He’s been a four-year starter, won a bunch of games and played in the SEC Championship Game twice. But Murray — fair or not — has a label as a quarterback who can’t win the big game. And despite playing well last week at Clemson (20-of-29 for 323 yards, 1 INT), Murray failed to lead his team to victory. With South Carolina coming to town this weekend, the fifth-year senior will be under considerable pressure to play well — and, of course, win the game.

South Carolina’s linebackers
Georgia puts pressure on every part of a defense, but South Carolina’s inexperienced linebacker corps will be under intense scrutiny this week. This group will have to deal with Georgia’s elite tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and handle the play-action game that can be so difficult to slow down. Also, the Bulldogs feature two outstanding pass-catching tight ends, Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome.

Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Easley was a key figure on a Florida defensive line that consistently had its way with the Toledo offensive front. The Rockets managed only 205 yards of offense and did not score a touchdown. The challenge will be greater this week for Easley and the Florida defense. Miami boasts an outstanding offensive line and one of the top running backs in the nation, Duke Johnson. If Easley plays well, the Gators’ defense will be productive. 

Tennessee’s secondary
The Vols’ struggles in the secondary last season are well-documented. This week, this unit will be tested for the first time this season. Western Kentucky isn’t loaded with top-flight talent, but the Hilltoppers are good enough to move the ball up and down the field — just ask Kentucky — and are as well-coached on offense as any team in the nation. Two true freshman cornerbacks — Cameron Sutton and Malik Foreman — will see significant time.

Maxwell Smith, QB, Kentucky
Smith, who threw for 280 yards in the opener against Louisville last season, seems to be a better fit for Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense, but the UK staff went with Jalen Whitlow in Week 1 because of his ability to make plays with his feet. Smith gets the start this week and will have an opportunity to secure the top job with a solid performance. Miami gave up 591 yards of offense, including 287 through the air, in a 52–14 loss to Marshall last week.


SEC Week 2 Predictions

 

David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Florida at Miami 

Florida 28-24

Florida 27-21Florida 24-20Florida 24-20
Miami (OH) at Kentucky 

Kentucky 21-17

Kentucky 31-13Kentucky 38-17Kentucky 33-17

WKU at Tennessee 

UT 28-24UT 30-27UT 30-27UT 31-21

Toledo at Missouri 

Mizzou 35-28

Mizzou 31-20Mizzou 38-31Mizzou 28-20

Alcorn at Miss St.

Miss. St. 35-7Miss. St. 44-10Miss. St. 38-0Miss. State 41-10

South Carolina at Georgia 

Carolina 27-21

Carolina 27-21Georgia 27-24Georgia 31-21

UAB at LSU 

LSU 42-10

LSU 41-10LSU 45-13LSU 41-0

Sam Houston at Texas A&M 

A&M 49-21

A&M 51-21A&M 58-27A&M 55-10

Samford at Arkansas 

Arkansas 41-14

Arkansas 41-20Arkansas 41-7Arkansas 31-0

SEMO at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 49-7Ole Miss 42-13Ole Miss 52-7Ole Miss 44-7

Austin Peay at Vanderbilt 

Vanderbilt 52-7

Vanderbilt 51-10Vanderbilt 45-3Vanderbilt 51-7

Arkansas St. at Auburn 

Auburn 28-17

Auburn 31-14Auburn 34-27Arkansas St. 27-21
Last Week12-110-310-310-3
Season12-110-310-310-3

 

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It’s only Week 1, but if the early indications are true, the SEC is deeper and better than 2012. LSU showcased the next wave of talent in a win over TCU, Ole Miss picked up a good road win over Vanderbilt, Arkansas handled Sun Belt favorite UL Lafayette, and Tennessee and Auburn scored victories under a new coaching staff.

Alabama didn’t have the best offensive outing against Virginia Tech, but the Crimson Tide are still the No. 1 team in the SEC and in the nation. 

South Carolina secured a solid non-conference victory over North Carolina on Thursday night, while Georgia lost by three points on the road to Clemson.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11

Alabama (1-0, 0-0): The beating was far less thorough than most anticipated, but Alabama was never really threatened in its 35-10 win over Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide’s offense was underwhelming (206 total yards), but Bama scored two touchdowns on special teams and one on defense. Next Week: Bye

23

South Carolina (1-0, 0-0): The Gamecocks recorded a workmanlike 27–10 win over North Carolina on Thursday night. South Carolina flashed its big-play ability early when Connor Shaw hooked up with Shaq Roland on a 65-yard touchdown toss in the first quarter. From that point, Steve Spurrier leaned on his rushing attack; Mike Davis led the way with 115 yards (9.6-yard average), and Brandon Wilds chipped in with 64 yards on 12 rushes. Next Week: at Georgia 

32Georgia (0-1, 0-0): The Bulldogs missed a great opportunity to make a statement in Week 1. Georgia played well at times, but Mark Richt’s team made too many mistakes to beat a team as talented as Clemson on the road. Todd Gurley was sensational (154 yards on 12 carries), and Aaron Murray completed 20-of-29 for 323 yards, but the Georgia defense had no answer for the Clemson attack. Next Week: South Carolina 
45LSU (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers were very impressive in their 37–27 win  over TCU in Arlington, Texas. The offense, under the guidance of new coordinator Cam Cameron, picked up 448 total yards and converted 13-of-19 on third down. The new-look LSU defense held TCU to 259 yards. Next Week: UAB
54Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0): Johnny Manziel’s return from suspension and his subsequent behavior in the second half made national headlines, but the bigger story was the Texas A&M defense. Yes, the Aggies weren’t at full strength, but Rice rolled up 509 yards of total offense, including over 300 on the ground. That is not a good sign. Next Week: Sam Houston State
66Florida (1-0, 0-0): The Gators were dominant on defense, holding a potent Toledo offense to just over 200 yards and a pair of field goals. Jeff Driskel was efficient at quarterback, completing 17-of-22 for 153 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Gators will have to prove they can throw the ball down field as the schedule toughens up in the coming weeks. Driskel’s longest completion was to tight end Trey Burton for 26 yards. Next Week: At Miami (Fla.)
78Ole Miss (1-0, 1-0): The only team with an SEC win on the young season, Ole Miss showed some toughness by coming back from 11 points down in the second half to beat Vanderbilt in Nashville. After being held to 10 points in the first half, the Rebels scored four touchdowns in the final two quarters. Next Week: SE Missouri State.
87

Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1): The Commodores rallied for a late score to grab a 35-32 lead over Ole Miss with under two minutes to play, but the defense let Rebel tailback Jeff Scott scamper 75 yards for the winning score just two plays later. Senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, making his first SEC start, threw for 300 yards, and All-America wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught 10 passes for 178 yards. Next Week: Austin Peay

913Arkansas (1-0, 0-0): The Hogs disposed of a solid UL Lafayette team with surprising ease, outgaining the Ragin’ Cajuns 522-to-274 en route to the 34-14 win. Brandon Allen, the new starting quarterback, threw for 230 yards, and two tailbacks (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for over 100 yards. Last year, Arkansas opened the season by losing at home to a Sun Belt team. Not this year. Next Week: vs. Samford
109Mississippi State (0-1, 0-0): Mississippi State looked good early but did not play well in the final three quarters of a sluggish 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The biggest surprise: The Bulldogs failed to score a touchdown against a defense that gave up well over 400 yards per game last season. Starting quarterback Tyler Russell was forced to leave the game with an apparent head injury in the second half. Next Week: vs. Alcorn State
1111Tennessee (1-0, 0-0): In arguably the biggest mismatch on the Week 1 slate (nationally, not just in the SEC), Tennessee shut out Austin Peay 45-0 in Butch Jones’ debut as the Vols’ head coach. UT jumped out to a 42-0 lead at the half and coasted through the final two quarters. Quarterback Justin Worley completed 11-of-13 for 104 yards and three touchdowns. Next Week: vs. Western Kentucky
12 12Missouri (1-0, 0-0): It was a bit of a struggle early — Murray State led Mizzou 14–13 after one quarter — but the Tigers dominated the final 45 minutes on their way to a 58–14 win. Missouri rolled up 694 total yards — 372 on the ground and 336 through the air. The highlight of the day: Henry Josey, making his first appearance since injuring his knee late in the 2011 season, rushed for 113 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: Toledo
1310Auburn (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers did a lot of good things in a 31–24 win over Washington State, but keep in mind that Wazzu was arguably the worst BCS conference team in the nation last season. The Cougars appear to be much improved, but we won’t know how to evaluate this Auburn win until we see more of Washington State. Still, a win is a win, and Auburn didn’t have too many of those last season. Next Week: Arkanas State
1414Kentucky (1-0, 0-0): The Mark Stoops era got off to a rough start with a 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville. And there was nothing fluky about this game: Western Kentucky was the better team. Kentucky went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback. He did some good things with his legs but threw for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, who appears to be a better fit for Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense, played relatively well off the bench. Next Game: Miami (Ohio)

SEC Week 1 Awards 

Offensive Player of the Week: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
His team came up short, but Matthews was sensational in Vanderbilt’s 39–35 loss to Ole Miss. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, highlighted by a 42-yard grab on 4th-and-18 in the final two minutes. That catch, in double-coverage, came just moments after Matthews threw up at midfield after taking a blow to the stomach. Earlier in the second half, he missed time while dealing with cramps. Matthews has averaged 121.6 yards receiving in his last 13 SEC games.

Defensive Player of the Week: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
The Auburn defense intercepted a total of two passes during the entire 2012 season. Therezie matched that number by himself on Saturday night. The junior safety intercepted Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to thwart a drive at midfield in the first quarter and then delivered arguably the play of the game when he picked off a pass in the end zone in the final five minutes with Auburn ahead by seven points. Therezie also added seven tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christion Jones, Alabama
Jones scored three touchdowns — one on a punt return, one a kickoff return and one on offense — to lead Alabama to a 35–10 win over Virginia Tech. The junior wideout is the second player in the past 10 years to score on a punt and kick return in the same game. His third touchdown came on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter. 
 
Team of the Week: LSU
The Tigers were perhaps the most impressive SEC team of the opening weekend. Les Miles’ club looked good on both sides of the ball, outgaining TCU 448-to-259 en route to a 37–27 win over the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas. LSU has now won 42 consecutive non-conference games.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
There wasn’t much not to like in Cameron’s debut as the play-caller at LSU. The Tigers rolled up 448 yards of offense against a TCU team that led the Big 12 in total defense last season. LSU showed nice balance (251 yards passing, 197 yards rushing), was tremendous on third down (13-of-19) and only committed one turnover. Zach Mettenberger had some nice moments, but the senior quarterback only completed 50 percent of his passes — a number that Cameron would like to see increase in coming weeks.

Freshman of the Week, Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
There were some freshmen with gaudier stats, but none had a bigger impact on his team’s win than Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver recruit. After catching only one pass in the first half, Treadwell set the tone for the Ole Miss offense in third quarter by catching eight passes on the Rebels’ two long scoring drives. He capped off the second drive with a 2-point conversion that cut the Vanderbilt lead to 28–25. The 6-3, 215-poud Illinois native ended the game with nine catches for 82 yards.

5th Down

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak to Vanderbilt. The Rebels had lost six of the last eight against the Commodores.
• It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in Bret Bielama’s debut. Jonathan Williams gained 151 yards on 18 carries, and freshman Alex Collins chipped in with 131 yards on 21 rushes.
• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10-of-23 for 110 yards against Virginia Tech. It was the fewest completions for McCarron as a starter against an FBS opponent and it was only the second time in his career he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He went 12-of-25 against Florida as a sophomore in 2011.
• Mississippi State, which lost to Oklahoma State 21–3, failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. The Bulldogs have now lost six of their past seven games, with each loss coming by at least 14 points.
• Florida held Toledo to 205 total yards in its 24–6 win in Gainesville. The Rockets returned nine starters from an offense that averaged 445.2 yards per games a year ago. It was Toledo’s worst offensive showing since gaining 183 yards in a 41–2 loss to Arizona in Week 1 of the 2011 season.

 

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Ole Miss topped Vanderbilt in the only Week 1 matchup between SEC teams, but there were several other schools that made a statement in the first weekend of the season. LSU picked up a solid non-conference win over TCU in Arlington; Florida looked great on defense in its win over Toledo; and Auburn knocked off an improved Washington State team in the first game of the Gus Malzahn era.

Offensive Player of the Week: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
His team came up short, but Matthews was sensational in Vanderbilt’s 39–35 loss to Ole Miss. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, highlighted by a 42-yard grab on 4th-and-18 in the final two minutes. That catch, in double-coverage, came just moments after Matthews threw up at midfield after taking a blow to the stomach. Earlier in the second half, he missed time while dealing with cramps. Matthews has averaged 121.6 yards receiving in his last 13 SEC games.

Defensive Player of the Week: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
The Auburn defense intercepted a total of two passes during the entire 2012 season. Therezie matched that number by himself on Saturday night. The junior safety intercepted Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to thwart a drive at midfield in the first quarter and then delivered arguably the play of the game when he picked off a pass in the end zone in the final five minutes with Auburn ahead by seven points. Therezie also added seven tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christion Jones, Alabama
Jones scored three touchdowns — one on a punt return, one a kickoff return and one on offense — to lead Alabama to a 35–10 win over Virginia Tech. The junior wideout is the second player in the past 10 years to score on a punt and kick return in the same game. His third touchdown came on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter. 
 
Team of the Week: LSU
The Tigers were perhaps the most impressive SEC team of the opening weekend. Les Miles’ club looked good on both sides of the ball, outgaining TCU 448-to-259 en route to a 37–27 win over the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas. LSU has now won 42 consecutive non-conference games.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
There wasn’t much not to like in Cameron’s debut as the play-caller at LSU. The Tigers rolled up 448 yards of offense against a TCU team that led the Big 12 in total defense last season. LSU showed nice balance (251 yards passing, 197 yards rushing), was tremendous on third down (13-of-19) and only committed one turnover. Zach Mettenberger had some nice moments, but the senior quarterback only completed 50 percent of his passes — a number that Cameron would like to see increase in coming weeks.

Freshman of the Week, Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
There were some freshmen with gaudier stats, but none had a bigger impact on his team’s win than Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver recruit. After catching only one pass in the first half, Treadwell set the tone for the Ole Miss offense in third quarter by catching eight passes on the Rebels’ two long scoring drives. He capped off the second drive with a 2-point conversion that cut the Vanderbilt lead to 28–25. The 6-3, 215-poud Illinois native ended the game with nine catches for 82 yards.

5th Down

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak to Vanderbilt. The Rebels had lost six of the last eight against the Commodores.
• It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in Bret Bielama’s debut. Jonathan Williams gained 151 yards on 18 carries, and freshman Alex Collins chipped in with 131 yards on 21 rushes.
• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10-of-23 for 110 yards against Virginia Tech. It was the fewest completions for McCarron as a starter against an FBS opponent and it was only the second time in his career he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He went 12-of-25 against Florida as a sophomore in 2011.
• Mississippi State, which lost to Oklahoma State 21–3, failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. The Bulldogs have now lost six of their past seven games, with each loss coming by at least 14 points.
• Florida held Toledo to 205 total yards in its 24–6 win in Gainesville. The Rockets returned nine starters from an offense that averaged 445.2 yards per games a year ago. It was Toledo’s worst offensive showing since gaining 183 yards in a 41–2 loss to Arizona in Week 1 of the 2011 season.

 

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The showdown at the Georgia Dome Saturday night between Georgia and Clemson highlights the Week 1 action in the SEC. The only league game, Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, takes place Thursday night in Nashville. 

SEC Week 1 Game Power Rankings

1. Georgia (-2) at Clemson (8 ET, ABC)
The marquee matchup of Week 1 pits two teams with legitimate national title aspirations. Clemson is known for its explosive attack — and rightfully so — but Georgia was actually the more efficient offensive team last season. The Bulldogs led the nation in yards per play (7.09) and ranked second in passing efficiency. Clemson compiled more yards (512.7 ypg) than Georgia (467.6 ypg) because the Tigers ran about 15 more plays per game. Georgia’s defense has been singled out as a cause of concern due to heavy personnel losses, but we can’t forget that this was not a particularly good defense (by Georgia standards) last season. The Dawgs gave up 31 points or more four times and ranked sixth in the league in both total defense and scoring defense. The next wave of Bulldog defenders is ready to emerge, and Georgia — even without standout linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-Clemons in the lineup (suspended) — will field a more talented defense than Clemson. The Dawgs will give up some points — no team will shut down Tajh Boyd & Co. — but don’t assume the Georgia defense will be a weakness in Week 1. 

2. Ole Miss (-3) at Vanderbilt (Thursday, 9:15 ET, ESPN)
This is a crucial game for two up-and-coming programs that would like nothing more than to start the season with an SEC win in Week 1. Ole Miss dominated this series from the 1950s through the mid-2000s, but Vanderbilt has won six of the last eight (including three straight) against the Rebels. Last year, the Commodores rallied from 17 down in the second half to knock off Ole Miss 27–26 in Oxford despite giving up over 400 yards passing. This year, the teams appear to be evenly matched once again. The focus will be on both quarterbacks. Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace will be playing his first game since undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason. The reports have been positive, but we won’t know if Wallace, a native of Middle Tennessee, is completely healthy until he faces a live defense. Vanderbilt will turn to fifth-year senior Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started for two years at Wyoming before transferring to Vanderbilt. Both quarterbacks will be without their No. 2 receivers — Ole Miss’ Vince Sanders is injured; Vanderbilt’s Chris Boyd is suspended. Should be a great game in Nashville. 

3. LSU (-4) vs. TCU (Arlington, Texas) (9 ET, ESPN)
Two offseason developments reduced TCU’s chance of knocking off LSU Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium. First, Devonte Fields, the Horned Frogs’ All-America defensive end, was suspended for the first two games for a “violation of university and team policy.” Then, just a few weeks ago, starting linebacker Joel Hasley decided to quit football. The Frogs will still be stout on defense — when aren’t they? — but few teams can afford to be without two of their top players. LSU will be playing its first game under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who is hoping to diversify the Tigers’ attack, which has leaned heavily on the run in recent years. Zach Mettenberger had his moments last year (298 yards vs. Alabama), but the former Georgia Bulldog was a bit of a disappointment in his first season as the starter at LSU. A solid game from Mettenberger against TCU would be a great sign for the Tigers. 

4. Alabama (-19.5) vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta) (5:30 ET, ESPN)
Virginia Tech has been hit hard by injuries in preseason camp — not a good sign when Alabama, the defending national champs and the preseason No. 1 team, is on the schedule in Week 1. Virginia Tech shook up its offensive staff in the offseason after the ’12 Hokies scored 17 points or less in four of their final six games. Scott Loeffler, who spent last season at Auburn, is now calling the plays in Blacksburg. He has a talented quarterback (Logan Thomas) at his disposal but few other proven playmakers. The projected starting running back, J.C. Coleman, isn’t expected to play against Alabama due to injury, and none of the wide receivers on the roster caught more than 20 passes last year. Oh, and have we mentioned the offensive line is banged up? This is a tough spot for Frank Beamer’s club. An upset is highly unlikely. 

5. North Carolina (+11.5) at South Carolina (6 ET, ESPN)
South Carolina opens the season in a familiar spot — on national television on Thursday night. Last year, the Gamecocks escaped Nashville with a 17–13 Week 1 win at Vanderbilt. This year, the opener figures to be a bit less stressful. North Carolina is a solid team, but this looks to be a bad matchup for the Tar Heels. North Carolina’s biggest area of concern is on the offensive line, and the Heels will have three new starters making their debut against one of the top defensive fronts in the nation. Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles & Co. could make life very difficult for quarterback Bryn Renner. Defensively, North Carolina is replacing its top two players (linebacker Kevin Reddick and tackle Sylvester Williams) from a unit that gave up 33 points or more in six games. The secondary, despite the return of four players who started at least eight games last season, is a big concern.

6. Mississippi State (+12.5) vs. Oklahoma State (Houston) (3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Oklahoma State is the pick by many (including Athlon Sports) to win the Big 12 title, but very few expect the Cowboys to be a factor in the national title race. The offense will have a new play-caller as Mike Yurcich takes over for Todd Monken (now the coach at Southern Miss), but it will be a surprise if the Pokes aren’t among the national leaders in total yards. Quarterbacks Clint Shelf and J.W. Walsh will be throwing to an elite crop of wide receivers that is led by junior Josh Stewart. This looks to be a favorable matchup on both sides of the ball for Oklahoma State. The Pokes will look to attack a Mississippi State defense that will feature two new starters at cornerback. And on the other side of the ball, the strength of the Oklahoma State defense is the interior of the line. This could present some problems for Mississippi State tailback LaDarius Perkins and force quarterback Tyler Russell to throw the ball to a receiving corps that has some talent but is largely untested. 

7. Western Kentucky (+4.5) vs. Kentucky (Nashville) (7 ET, ESPNews)
Perhaps the lowest point of Kentucky’s 2012 season came in Week 3 when the Wildcats lost 32–31 at home in overtime to Western Kentucky. Now energized by a new coaching staff, UK will be seeking revenge when these two in-state rivals get together in Nashville. The key for Kentucky will be to slow down tailback Antonio Andrews, who rumbled for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries in the Toppers’ win in Lexington last season. Bobby Petrino is known for his passing attacks, but he realizes that with a new quarterback (junior Brandon Doughty), his best bet is to lean heavily on Andrews and the ground game.

8. Washington State (+16) at Auburn (7 ET, ESPNU)
One of the more underrated storylines of the 2013 season is the quarterback situation at Auburn. Gus Malzahn has tabbed Nick Marshall, a former defensive back at Georgia who threw 20 interceptions in junior college last season, as the starter. Marshall is an incredible athlete, but at some point he will have to prove he can consistently throw the ball down the field. Washington State is in Year 2 of the Mike Leach era. The Cougs figure to be better — most notably on the offensive line — but Auburn has the decided talent advantage.

9. UL Lafayette (+10.5) at Arkansas (4 ET, Fox Sports Net)
Bret Bielema’s first game as the boss in Fayetteville will not be easy. UL Lafayette returns seven starters from an offense that averaged more than 450 yards and 35 points last season. Quarterback Terrance Broadway, in only nine starts, set single-season school records for total offense (3,616 yards) and completion percentage (65.4). This offense will move the ball. Arkansas will counter with an attack that will feature heavy doses of tailback Jonathan Williams. A former 4-star recruit from Texas, Williams hasn’t received a ton of pub in the preseason, but the sophomore will be the feature back on a Bielema-coached offense. Translation: He will run for well over 1,000 yards.

10. Toledo (+23.5) at Florida (12:21 ET, SEC Network)
The Gators opened the 2012 season at home against a team from the MAC, and it turned out to be quite a struggle. Florida and Bowling Green were tied 14–14 midway through the third quarter before the Gators pulled away late for the 27–14 win. Toledo stacks up favorably to last year’s Bowling Green team. The Rockets are far more potent on offense but won’t present too much resistance defensively. Only two starters return from a Toledo defense that gave up 473.2 yards per game last season. It will be a significant cause for concern if the Florida offense has trouble scoring points on Saturday.

11. Rice (+27.5) at Texas A&M (1 ET, ESPN)
Johnny Manziel will miss the first half of the season-opener, becoming the first returning Heisman winner to be suspended at any point in the following season (according to Chris Huston, the Heisman Pundit). Manziel will return to the lineup in the second half, and by that point his Aggies should be in complete control.

12. Murray State at Missouri (7 ET, PPV)
Missouri should barely break a sweat against a Murray State team that lost at Florida State 69–3 in the 2012 opener. This game will mark the return of tailback Henry Josey, who hasn’t played since suffering a devastating knee injury in November 2011. At the time of his injury, Josey ranked fifth in the nation in rushing with 127.7 yards per game. He could be a pivotal player for a much-improved Mizzou offense.

13. Austin Peay at Tennessee (6 ET, PPV)
The Butch Jones era begins with a tune-up against one of the worst FCS programs in the nation. Austin Peay went 2–9 in 2012 (one of the wins came against Culver-Stockton) and ranked 107th in the nation in total offense. Don’t put much stock into anything you might see in this box score.

5 Pivotal Players for Week 1

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
The former 4-star recruit steps into the role as the No. 1 back at South Carolina — a position held by Marcus Lattimore (when healthy) the past three years. Davis, a 5-9, 215-pound sophomore, ran for 275 yards on 52 carries last season as a true freshman. South Carolina has been known as a run-first team in recent years, but the Gamecocks ranked last in the SEC in 2012 by averaging only 3.67 yards per carry (a stat that was not helped by the team’s 260 yards lost due to sacks). Davis’ emergence as an All-SEC-caliber back would be a nice boost to the South Carolina offense.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Murray has won a bunch of games and thrown for a ton of yards during three years as the starter at Georgia, but despite leading his team to two straight SEC title games, the senior quarterback has been — at times — underwhelming on the big stage. Georgia is 2–7 vs. ranked opponents during the Murray era — a stat he is well aware of. “I gotta win the big games,” Murray told the Macon Telegraph. “I’ve gotta step it up and play better when it comes to big-time games. I know that. And that’s something I’m looking forward to this year, is taking that next step and taking on those bigger teams.” He will have an opportunity to “step it up” this weekend when the Bulldogs head to Clemson.

Jonathan Krause, WR, Vanderbilt
Krause put up some decent numbers (24 receptions for 243 yards) as a true freshman in 2009 on a bad Vanderbilt offense. In the past two seasons, however, he combined to catch only 34 passes for 240 yards. He has been a nice weapon as a punt returner but a non-factor in the passing game. Now, however, with Chris Boyd out (suspended), Krause will have an opportunity to shine as the Commodores’ No. 2 receiver.

Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
The nation’s consensus No. 1 incoming freshman, Nkemdiche played his way into the starting lineup during preseason camp. The 6-5, 294-pound defensive end will be on a national stage Thursday night against a Vanderbilt offensive line that features one of the more underrated tackles in the nation, senior Wesley Johnson. The Ole Miss staff will no doubt try to create some mismatches and give Nkemdiche a chance to make plays in his first college game.

Mississippi State’s cornerbacks
The Bulldogs must replace one of the top cornerback tandems in the nation, Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay. Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun are the new starters, and they won’t have time to ease into their new roles. Oklahoma State, the Week 1 opponent, has ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing offense in each of the last three seasons, and the 2013 Pokes feature an elite corps of wide receivers. The Mississippi State secondary will have to play well to give the Bulldogs a chance to win this game.

Athlon Week 1 SEC Predictions

 

David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

N. Carolina (+11.5) at S. Carolina 

S. Carolina 24-14

S. Carolina 28-13

S. Carolina 31-23

S. Carolina 28-14

Ole Miss (-3) at Vanderbilt

Ole Miss 28-21

Vanderbilt 31-24

Vanderbilt 24-20

Vanderbilt 30-27

Toledo (+23.5) at Florida 

Florida 28-17

Florida 31-13

Florida 34-20Florida 37-20

Rice (+27.5) at Texas A&M 

Texas A&M 48-10

Texas A&M 61-13

Texas A&M 48-10Texas A&M 51-7

Miss. State (+12.5) vs. O-State 

Okla. St 31-21

Okla. St 30-21

Okla. St 34-24Okla. St 38-24

UL Lafayette (+10.5) at Arkansas 

UL Lafayette 24-21

Arkansas 31-28

Arkansas 31-27Arkansas 34-30

Alabama (-19.5) vs. Va. Tech

Alabama 41-14

Alabama 41-14

Alabama 34-13Alabama 34-14

Austin Peay at Tennessee 

Tennessee 35-7

Tennessee 34-13

Tennessee 59-7Tennessee 47-0

W. Kentucky (+4.5) vs. Kentucky 

WKY 35-17

WKY 21-20

Kentucky 27-24Kentucky 23-13

Washington St (+16) at Auburn

Auburn 24-14

Auburn 35-20

Auburn 38-20Auburn 30-13

Murray State at Missouri 

Missouri 35-10

Missouri 38-10

Missouri 48-14Missouri 41-10

Georgia (-2) at Clemson 

Clemson 38-35

Georgia 34-31

Georgia 38-34Geeorgia 34-27

LSU (-4) vs. TCU (Arlington)

LSU 21-14

LSU 27-17

LSU 27-20

LSU 24-10

 

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James Franklin has taken Vanderbilt where few thought it was possible for the program to go — to the middle of the pack in the SEC. After showing significant improvement in Franklin’s first season — the Dores won six games in 2011, two more than the previous two years combined — the program took an even bigger step forward in 2012. The Commodores went 9–4 overall and 5–3 in the SEC. The nine wins were the most since 1915, and the winning record in the league was the school’s first since 1982. Vanderbilt ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, with five of the seven victories coming by 14 points or more. There was nothing fluky about Vanderbilt’s breakthrough season — the Commodores ranked fifth in the league in total defense and a respectable eighth in total offense.  And while there are a few key personnel losses on both sides of the ball, there is more than enough returning talent to keep the Commodores relevant in the nation’s most difficult conference.

Vanderbilt Commodores 2013 Spring Preview

2012 Record: 9-4 (5-3)

Spring practice dates: March 15-April 13

Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 6

Returning Leaders:

Passing: Austyn Carta-Samuels, 14 of 25, 208 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Brian Kimbrow, 66 car., 413 yards, 3 TDs
Receiving: Jordan Matthews, 94 rec., 1,323 yards, 8 TDs
Tackles: Kenny Ladler, 90
Sacks: Kyle Woestmann, 6
Interceptions: Kenny Ladler and Andre Hal, 2

Redshirts to Watch: CB Brandon Banks, DT Ladarius Banks, P Colby Cooke, OL Barrett Gouger, OL Andrew Jelks, CB Torren McGaster, DE Stephen Weatherly, QB Patton Robinette

Early Enrollees to Watch: OL Sean Dowling, QB Johnny McCrary

JUCO Transfers to watch: TE Brandon Vandenburg

2013 Schedule

Aug. 29 Ole Miss
Sept. 7 Austin Peay
Sept. 14 at South Carolina
Sept. 21 at UMass
Sept. 28 UAB
Oct. 5 Missouri
Oct. 19 Georgia
Oct. 26 at Texas A&M
Nov. 2 Bye Week
Nov. 9 at Florida
Nov. 16 Kentucky
Nov. 23 at Tennessee
Nov. 30 Wake Forest

Offensive Strength: Vanderbilt boasts the SEC’s best pair of starting wide receivers in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Matthews earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior after catching a league-best 94 passes for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns. Boyd’s numbers weren’t as gaudy (50 catches for 774 yards), but he has tremendous hands and is considered a legitimate NFL prospect.

Offensive Weakness: Vanderbilt is unproven at the quarterback position after losing Jordan Rodgers to graduation. Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started for two seasons at Wyoming, is the favorite, though redshirt freshman Patton Robinette will get a long look.

Defensive Strength: The Commodores feature three defensive ends who could play for any team in the league — a statement that can’t often be made with conviction. Senior Walker May is a bit undersized (6-5, 250) but has been a consistent playmaker for the past two seasons. Junior Kyle Woestmann was perhaps the best player on the defense in the latter half of the season, with six sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss in the final seven games. And sophomore Caleb Azubuike recorded 4.5 sacks as a true freshman.

Defensive Weakness: Vanderbilt lacks depth at defensive tackle, with only three players returning who logged meaningful snaps at the position in 2012. To build some depth, the staff moved highly touted offensive lineman Adam Butler, a redshirt freshman, to defensive tackle in the spring, and also is looking at moving Azubuike inside on passing downs.

Spring Storylines Facing the Commodores

1. Replacing Jordan Rodgers. After a slow start, Jordan Rodgers enjoyed an outstanding senior season running the Vanderbilt offense. The biggest issue in the offseason is identifying Rodgers’ successor. Austyn Carta-Samuels, a two year-starter at Wyoming and the 2009 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, is the favorite. Carta-Samuels is a dual-threat who threw for 3,655 yards and rushed for 578 in his two seasons at Wyoming. He started one game last year for Vanderbilt, throwing for 195 yards in an easy win over Presbyterian. Carta-Samuels will be challenged by Patton Robinette, a redshirt freshman from East Tennessee who was once committed to North Carolina. Josh Grady, who was moved from quarterback to wide receiver last spring, is back at quarterback (for now). True freshmen Johnny McCrary and Chad Kanoff are long shots to play right away.

2. Sorting out the running back situation. Zac Stacy finished his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher. The Commodores will replace his production with a three-man committee — senior Wesley Tate and sophomores Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow. Tate emerged as a consistent No. 2 back last year after spending the 2011 season at wide receiver. He had 10 carries or more five times in the last eight games and scored one touchdown in six of the last seven games. He has decent size and good speed but did not have a run longer than 25 yards in 2012. Kimbrow, a highly touted recruit, was the Commodores’ second-leading rusher as true freshman, though more than half of his 413 yards came against Presbyterian and UMass. He has tremendous speed but lacks the size to be an every-down back. Seymour sat out last season as a redshirt while recovering from an injury. He was Stacy’s primary backup as a true freshman in 2011. Don’t be surprised if Seymour leads Vanderbilt in rushing next fall.

3. Finding a No. 2 cornerback. The Commodores have received strong play from the cornerback position in Bob Shoop’s two seasons as the defensive coordinator. Andre Hal, a second-team All-SEC pick in 2012, is back for his second season as the starter, but Vanderbilt must find a replacement for Trey Wilson. Steven Clarke, the primary nickel back last fall, and redshirt freshmen Torren McGaster and Brandon Banks are the top candidates. Shoop loves to bring pressure, so it’s important that he is comfortable leaving his cornerbacks in man coverage.

4. Colby Cooke’s leg. One of the underrated aspects of Vanderbilt’s breakthrough season was the play of the kicking specialists. Placekicker Carey Spear rebounded from a disappointing sophomore season to convert 20-of-24 as a junior, and punter Richard Kent was consistently strong all season long. Spear is back for one more season, but Kent, a three-year starter, must be replaced. Colby Cooke, the successor, has a big leg but has yet to prove himself in a game. The Commodores need him to be solid in 2012. 


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March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big 12.

ACC TOURNAMENT
Starts: Thursday
Final: Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech
No. 5 NC State vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech
No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 10 Wake Forest
No. 6 Florida State vs. No. 11 Clemson

Byes to the quarterfinals:
No. 1 Miami
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Virginia

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Big TenMountain West | Pac-12 | SEC

THE FAVORITE: Duke
The Blue Devils did not win the ACC regular-season title, but Duke looks like the best team in the league at this point of the season. Ryan Kelly’s return to the lineup has made the Blue Devils much more difficult to guard, and the senior forward also adds a presence on defense. Duke is 18-0 with Kelly in the lineup, holding opponents to 37.9 shooting in games with Kelly. Duke’s opponents shot 45 percent with Kelly out.

DARK HORSE: Florida State
Florida State has been a disappointment this season, but this is still a talented team with some strong veteran leadership. The Seminoles evened their league record at 9–9 by beating Virginia and NC State in the final week of the season. The Seminoles aren’t the defensive team they’ve been in the past, but Michael Snaer is one of the nation’s best in crunch time. Snaer has hit six game-winning shots in the last two seasons.

ATHLON’S PICK: Miami
Don’t forget about the Hurricanes, the 2013 ACC regular-season champs. Just two weeks ago, Miami lost at Duke by only three points even though starting center Reggie Johnson failed to score a point. The ‘Canes snapped out of a late-season funk by defeating Clemson 62-49 thanks to 23 points and 12 rebounds from Kenny Kadji and a late burst from Shane Larkin. When Miami has all its pieces working, the Hurricanes are a Final Four threat.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Duke, Miami, NC State, North Carolina

BUBBLE TEAM:
Virginia
The Cavaliers’ NCAA tournament case is one of the strangest for bubble teams. The Cavs are 4-2 against the top 50, including wins over Duke, North Carolina and NC State, plus Wisconsin on the road. Virginia also lost to three Colonial teams, including Old Dominion (5-25). Virginia’s late-season losses to Boston College and Florida State means the Cavs probably need to beat NC State and Miami in the ACC Tournament -- at least -- to be in the field.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

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March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big Ten.

BIG TEN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: Thursday
Final: Sunday in Chicago (CBS)
First-round games (All Thursday):
No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Minnesota
No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 12 Penn State
No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Nebraska
No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern

Byes to the quarterfinals
No. 1. Indiana
No. 2 Ohio State
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Wisconsin

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
ACC | Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


THE FAVORITE: Indiana
The Hoosiers captured the outright Big Ten title in thrilling fashion, rallying to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor on the final day of the regular season. Indiana spent most of the season as the most efficient offensive team in the country. The Hoosiers still lead the nation with 1.15 points per possession, but they’ve struggled late in the season. Indiana shot less than 40 percent against Iowa and Ohio State and needed time to wake up in a 72-71 win over Michigan. The Hoosiers are averaging less than a point per possession in the last three games.

DARK HORSE: Illinois
Illinois is capable of making a surprising run to the Big Ten title if it shoots the ball well from the perimeter. Illinois won the Maui Invitational to start the season, defeating Butler in the final after cruising past USC and Chaminade. Tournament time worked well for first-year Illini coach John Groce, who won two MAC Tourneys in four years at Ohio.

ATHLON’S PICK: Michigan State
There are so many good teams in this league. All things being equal, you can never go wrong picking a Tom Izzo-coached team to win in March. The Big Ten could have a Final-Four caliber field, and a neutral court could be a great equalizer among the league's top five. If Keith Appling is playing at a high level, Michigan State will win plenty of postseason games.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Minnesota
The Gophers faded down the stretch after defeating Indiana on Feb. 26. Minnesota lost at Nebraska and at Purdue to fall to the ninth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That may end up being a blessing. By drawing No. 8 seed Illinois, Minnesota won’t have a bad loss to diminish their Tournament hopes. With a top-25 RPI, Minnesota would have one of the highest ratings to be left out of the NCAA Tournament, but how much would you trust a team that lost three in a row before the Tourney? That is, if Minnesota loses to Illinois. The Gophers split the season series against Illinois and potential second-round opponent Indiana this season.

Iowa
With a strength of schedule ranked outside of the top 100 and an RPI outside of the top 75, Iowa doesn’t have an NCAA resume despite being the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten. Defeating Michigan State in the quarters and Ohio State in the semis might set up a compelling case for the Hawkeyes.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

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March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Pac-12.

PAC-12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 13
Final: March 16 in Las Vegas (ESPN)
No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 9 Arizona State
No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oregon State
No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Utah
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Washington State

First-round byes:
No. 1 UCLA
No. 2 Cal
No. 3 Oregon
No. 4 Arizona

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big 12 | Big East
| Mountain West | SEC

THE FAVORITE: UCLA
It hasn’t been the smoothest ride, but UCLA captured the outright Pac-12 title with a 13–5 record. The Bruins have a ton of talent, even if it hasn’t been the most cohesive group in the league. UCLA won the league outright, but the Bruins were hardly immune from the inconsistency throughout the league. In only the final week, the Bruins sleep walked through a loss to Washington. Facing a hungry Stanford or Arizona State team in the quarterfinals could be problematic.

DARK HORSE: USC
The Trojans played well after Bob Cantu took over for Kevin O’Neill on an interim basis in late January. In the 7-7 stretch under Cantu, USC has wins over UCLA and Stanford on the road and Washington and Arizona at home. The key is the play of Eric Wise. The senior went 9 of 12 in an upset of Arizona on Feb. 27 but went 4 of 16 with 14 points combined in back-to-back losses to the Washington schools to end the regular season.

ATHLON’S PICK: Cal
The Golden Bears ended the season on a down note — a home loss to rival Stanford — but had previously won seven straight games. Pac-12 player of the year Allen Crabbe is capable of carrying his team to the title. Fellow guard Justin Cobbs finished the season on a hot streak, but he must cut his turnovers.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Arizona State/Stanford: The five teams projected to be in the bracket for the Pac-12 appear to be pretty safe even if Cal, Colorado and Oregon lose their conference tournament openers. Arizona State and Stanford are marginal bubble teams, who will eliminate the other when they face each other in the first round. Things could get interesting if the Arizona State-Stanford winner knocks off No. 1 seed UCLA in the quarterfinal.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

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March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big 12.

BIG 12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 13
Final: March 16 in Kansas City (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 9 Texas Tech (Wednesday)
No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 TCU (Wednesday)
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Iowa State (Thursday)
No. 1 Kansas vs. West Virginia/Texas Tech (Thursday)
No. 2 Kansas State vs. Texas/TCU (Thursday)
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Baylor (Thursday)

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big East | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


THE FAVORITE: Kansas
Kansas has stubbed its toe on several occasions this season, but Bill Self’s club still managed to grab a share of the Big 12 title for the ninth straight season. Point guard will be worth watching as it has been all season. Elijah Johnson has scored 29 total points in three games since his 39-point outburst against Iowa State.

DARK HORSE: Baylor
Despite its 9–9 Big 12 record, Baylor might have the league’s most talented roster. The Bears showed what they are capable of on Saturday, rolling past Kansas 81–58 in the season-finale in Waco. We could see Pierre Jackson, Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson reach the final... or just as easily lose to Oklahoma State in a rout.

ATHLON’S PICK: Kansas
Oklahoma State and Kansas State are both very good, but Kansas is a veteran team — the Jayhawks start four seniors — that will be playing for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The exception in the KU starting lineup may be the best freshman in the country in Ben McLemore.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Oklahoma
The Sooners were close to lock status back in mid-February, but it might be warranted to worry about OU. The Sooners lost on Feb. 27 at Texas in overtime and then joined Kansas as the only Big 12 teams to lose to TCU. A loss to Iowa State won’t knock the Sooners out, but two wins over Iowa State in the final weeks of the season would be a compelling case if OU ends up on the bubble.

Iowa State
The Cyclones picked up a resume-boosting win by defeating Oklahoma State on March 6. Like Oklahoma, Iowa State may be a Tournament team no matter what happens in its quarterfinal game against the Sooners, but the winner Thursday should feel secure while the loser will have to hope it doesn’t get caught in a number crunch.

Baylor
It was easy to give up on Baylor after the Bears lost to Texas on March 4 to fall below .500 in the league. Scott Drew’s team still needs to win a few games in the Big 12 Tournament to get into the field, but Baylor’s 81-58 win over Kansas on Saturday reinforced this team has the talent to make a run.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> Can Kansas claim another Big 12 Tournament title? Will Oklahoma or Iowa State pick up a crucial win?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 11:15
Path: /college-basketball/2013-mountain-west-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Mountain West.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 12
Final: March 16 in Las Vegas (CBS)
First-round games:
No. 8 Wyoming vs. No. 9 Nevada (Tuesday)
No. 3 UNLV vs No. 6 Air Force (Wednesday)
No. 2 Colorado State vs. No. 7 Fresno State (Wednesday)
No. 1 New Mexico vs. Wyoming/Nevada (Wednesday)
No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 5 Boise State (Wednesday)

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big East


THE FAVORITE: New Mexico
The Lobos won the regular-season title by two full games, an impressive feat considering that five of the nine teams in the league are expected to make the NCAA Tournament. Kendall Williams had the 46-point explosion against Colorado State, but Alex Kirk has been more consistent down the stretch (17.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg in the last five).

DARK HORSE: Boise State
The Broncos are playing their best ball of the season, with wins in five of their last six games. They are well-coached under former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice and have two outstanding scorers — Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks.

ATHLON’S PICK: UNLV
New Mexico had the best team during the regular season, but UNLV is blessed with the most talented roster. The Rebels didn’t always play like it, though. Perhaps losing at home to Fresno State in the regular season finale was a wake-up call. The Rebels also have to the advantage of playing the tournament on their home floor.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

BUBBLE TEAM:
Boise State
The Broncos look pretty good for a bid after closing the season on a 5-1 run. During that span, Boise State defeated San Diego State and Colorado State at home. If the Broncos can add a second win over the Aztecs, this time on a neutral site, lock up their bid.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Mountain West Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 12:30
Path: /college-basketball/2013-big-east-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big East.

BIG EAST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 12
Final: March 16 in New York (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 12 Seton Hall vs. No. 13 USF (Tuesday)
No. 11 Rutgers vs. No. 14 DePaul (Tuesday)
No. 8 Providence vs. No. 9 Providence (Wednesday)
No. 5 Syracuse vs. Seton Hall/USF (Wednesday)
No. 7 Villanova vs. No. 10 St. John’s (Wednesday)
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. Rutgers/DePaul (Wednesday)

Byes to the quarterfinals:
No. 1 Georgetown
No. 2 Louisville
No. 3 Marquette
No. 4 Pittsburgh

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Mountain West


THE FAVORITE: Georgetown
The Hoyas, led by unanimous All-Big East first teamer Otto Porter, won 13 of their final 14 games — capped off Saturday’s 61–39 win over rival Syracuse. Georgetown’s prowess on defense will make it hard to beat at Madison Square Garden. The Hoyas are also playing for a potential No. 1 seed if they can win their first Big East Tournament since 2007.

DARK HORSE: Villanova
Any team that can claim wins over Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown has to be considered a threat to win the Big East Tournament. A word of caution: Most of the Wildcats’ impressive wins this season have come at home.

ATHLON’S PICK: Louisville
The Cardinals have recovered from their puzzling late-January three-game slide. Louisville won 10 of its last 11 games, with the only setback coming at Notre Dame in five overtimes. Gorgui Dieng averaged 11.2 points and 10.8 rebounds in Big East play compared to 6.8 and 6.7 before his injury.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Villanova
The Wildcats are awfully close to lock territory with the marquee wins this season. Losses to Columbia, Providence (twice) and Seton Hall earlier this season mean Villanova needs to avoid a loss to 10th-seeded St. John’s in the first round.

Cincinnati
The Bearcats looked all but certain to be in the field to start February, but Cincinnati finished on a 3-6 slide. Cincinnati dodged a resume-killing loss to USF in the regular-season finale in overtime. Now the Bearcats have to prove they can defeat Providence. Through the Friars aren’t an at-large candidate, they have defeated Cincinnati already this season in addition to beating Notre Dame and Villanova.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Big East Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 12:07
All taxonomy terms: 2013 March Madness, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-power-rankings-gonzaga-waits-no-1
Body:

Gonzaga may end up with the best seat in the house for the conference tournaments.

After defeating Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference finals, the Bulldogs will sit with their resume complete and their No. 1 ranking intact.

The only question is where Gonzaga will sit on Selection Sunday. With the nation’s best record, Mark Few’s team has a good chance to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If indeed Gonzaga gets one of those four coveted spots, the next questions is the other three teams on the top line of the bracket.

Conference tournaments will go a long way to determining those teams. The Big Ten, as it has been all season, is loaded, but Indiana may have a substantial edge with its win at Michigan on Sunday and an outright conference title.

Elsewhere, we’re curious to see how high Duke can climb. With Ryan Kelly back in the line up, the Blue Devils again look like a No. 1 overall team.

Related: Key stats from March 4-10

COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS: MARCH 12

1. Gonzaga (31-2, 16-0 West Coast)
Last week’s rank: 1
Last week’s results: Defeated Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference Tournament
Up next: NCAA Tournament
Buzz: Zags win WCC Tournament for 11th time since 1999. Does a No. 1 seed await?

2. Duke (27-4, 14-4 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Last week’s results: Defeated Virginia Tech 89-57, defeated North Carolina 69-53
This week: ACC Tournament
Buzz: Blue Devils could be the No. 1 overall seed in NCAAs despite not winning ACC regular season.

3. Indiana (26-5, 14-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 3
Last week’s results: Lost to Ohio State 67-58, defeated Michigan 72-71
This week: Big Ten Tournament
Buzz: Hoosiers capitalize on Michigan’s missed FTs to earn hard-fought win.

Debate: Zeller or Oladipo for Indiana's MVP

4. Georgetown (24-5, 14-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 4
Last week’s results: Lost to Villanova 67-57, defeated Syracuse 61-39
This week: Big East Tournament
Buzz: Hoyas outscore Syracuse by a combined 33 points en route to season sweep.

Related: Big East Tournament preview

5. Louisville (26-5, 14-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 8
Last week’s results: Defeated Notre Dame 73-57
This week: Big East Tournament
Buzz: Only one the Cards’ last seven opponents have scored more than 60 points. 

6. Michigan (25-6, 12-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week’s results: Defeated Purdue 80-75, lost to Indiana 72-71
This week: Big Ten Tournament
Buzz: Wolverines will have trouble getting past the collapse against Indiana.

7. Miami (24-6, 15-3 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Last week’s results: Lost to Georgia Tech 71-69, defeated Clemson 62-49
This week: ACC Tournament
Buzz: Here’s a surprise: Hurricanes’ win ACC title in hoops before football.

8. Kansas (26-5, 14-4 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 7
Last week’s results: Lost to Baylor 81-58
This week: Big 12 Tournament
Buzz: KU loses at Baylor — must “settle” for a share of 12th straight Big 12 title with Kansas State.  

9. Michigan State (24-7, 13-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 9
Last week’s results: Defeated Wisconsin 58-43, defeated Northwestern 71-61
This week: Big Ten Tournament
Buzz: Spartans win final two games as Gary Harris earnes Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.

10. Ohio State (23-7, 13-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 15
Last week’s results: Defeated Indiana 57-58, defeated Illinois 68-55
This week: Big Ten Tournament
Buzz: Buckeyes head to Big Ten Tournament riding a five-game winning streak. 

11. Florida (24-6, 14-4 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Last week’s results: Defeated Vanderbilt 66-40, lost to Kentucky 61-57
This week: SEC Tournament
Buzz: Gators slog through final 10 with 6-4 record after 8-0 start in SEC play.

12. Marquette (23-7, 14-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 16
Last week’s results: Defeated Rutgers 60-54, defeated St. John’s 69-67 (OT)
This week: Big East Tournament
Buzz: Golden Eagles share Big East title thanks to Vander Blue’s game-winner at MSG.

13. Oklahoma State (23-7, 12-5 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 12
Last week’s results: Lost to Iowa State 87-76, defeated Kansas State 76-70
This week: Big 12 Tournament
Buzz: Pokes close out regular season in style with a win over Kansas State. 

14. Kansas State (25-6, 14-4 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 11
Last week’s results: Defeated TCU 79-68, lost to Oklahoma State 76-70
This week: Big 12 Tournament
Buzz: Kansas State earns a share of Big 12 title — its first league crown since 1977.

15. New Mexico (26-5, 13-3 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Defeated Nevada 75-62, lost to Air Force 89-88
This week: Mountain West Tournament
Buzz: Lobos ranked No. 2 in the RPI even after closing season with a loss to Air Force.

Related: Mountain West Tournament preview

16. Saint Louis (24-6, 13-3 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 17
Last week’s results: Lost to Xavier 77-66 (OT), defeated La Salle 78-54
This week: Atlantic 10 Tournament
Buzz: VCU’s loss to Temple gives Saint Louis the outright Atlantic 10 title. 

17. Pittsburgh (24-7, 12-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 21
Last week’s results: Defeated DePaul 81-66
This week: Big East Tournament
Buzz: Nice bounce-back season from Pitt; Panthers finish fourth in Big East. 

18. UCLA (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 18
Last week’s results: Lost to Washington State 73-61, defeated Washington 61-54
This week: Pac-12 Tournament
Buzz: Bruins’ first win at Washington since 2004 earns them the outright Pac-12 title.

19. Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 20
Last week’s results: Defeated St. John’s 66-40, lost to Louisville 73-57
This week: Big East Tournament
Buzz: Defensive issues could keep Irish from being much of a threat in postseason.

20. Arizona (22-7, 10-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 22
Last week’s results: Defeated Arizona State 73-58
This week: Pac-12 Tournament
Buzz: Wildcats stop the bleeding — two straight losses — by beating Arizona State.

21. North Carolina (22-9, 12-6 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 23
Last week’s results: Defeated Maryland 79-68, lost to Duke 69-53
This week: ACC Tournament
Buzz: One bad game vs. Duke doesn’t ruin Heels’ strong late-season showing.

22. Wisconsin (21-10, 12-6 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 24
Last week’s results: Lost to Michigan State 58-43, defeated Penn State 63-60
This week: Big Ten Tournament
Buzz: Badgers avoid disaster by beating Penn State on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

23. Creighton (27-7, 13-5 Missouri Valley)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Drake, Indiana State and Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Tournament
Up next: NCAA Tournament
Buzz: Arch Madness ends with Creighton cutting down the nets.

24. Colorado State (24-7, 11-5 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Wyoming 78-56, defeated Nevada 77-66
This week: Mountain West Tournament
Buzz: Larry Eustachy on verge of second NCAA bid in two seasons with two different teams.

25. VCU (24-7, 12-4 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 25
Last week’s results: Defeated Richmond 93-82, lost to Temple 84-76
This week: Atlantic 10 Tournament
Buzz: Rams’ frenetic defense is tough to prepare for in a tournament setting.

Out: No. 14 Syracuse, No. 19 Oregon

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Power Rankings: Gonzaga waits at No. 1</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 11:25
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-power-rankings-gonzaga-takes-top-spot
Body:

Gonzaga will hope this isn’t the last time for firsts.

Mark Few’s team earned its first No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll this week, and the Athlon Sports power rankings will follow suit with the Bulldogs atop our weekly basketball power rankings.

Gonzaga completed an undefeated run through the West Coast Conference and hasn’t lost since a Jan. 19 defeat on a buzzer beater to Butler in Hinkle Fieldhouse. This may be the best Gonzaga team under Few, giving the Zags a chance to reach their first Sweet 16 since 2009, or first Elite Eight since 1999 or first Final Four in school history.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Conference tournaments begin this week for Gonzaga and a handful of other conferences while the power conferences wrap up their regular seasons.

Opening the door for Gonzaga to take the top spot were a handful of head-scratching losses by top-10 teams: Duke to Virginia, Michigan to Penn State, Indiana to Minnesota and so on.

Related: Key stats from Feb. 25-March 3

COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS: MARCH 5

1. Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0 West Coast)
Last week’s rank: 3
Last week’s results: Defeated BYU 70-65, defeated Portland 81-52
This week: West Coast Conference Tournament
Buzz: Pressure will be on Zags to live up to hype in NCAAs.

2. Duke (25-4, 12-4 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Last week’s results: Lost to Virginia 73-68, defeated Miami 79-76
This week: Virginia Tech, at North Carolina
Buzz: Ryan Kelly’s return makes Duke very difficult to guard.

3. Indiana (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 1
Last week’s results: Lost to Minnesota 77-73, defeated Iowa 73-60
This week: Ohio State, at Michigan
Buzz:Hoosiers closing in on first Big Ten title since 2002 and first outright title since 1993.

Debate: Zeller or Oladipo for Indiana's MVP

4. Georgetown (23-4, 13-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 4
Last week’s results: Defeated Connecticut 79-78 (2OT), defeated Rutgers 64-51
This week: at Villanova, Syracuse
Buzz: The Hoyas didn’t lose a game in February.

5. Michigan (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 2
Last week’s results: Lost to Penn State 84-78, Michigan State 58-57
This week: at Purdue, Indiana
Buzz: Trey Burke buckles down on defense against MSU.

6. Miami (23-5, 14-2 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week’s results: Defeated Virginia Tech 76-58, lost to Duke 79-76
This week: Georgia Tech, Clemson
Buzz: Canes battled back against Duke but lost a heartbreaker.

7. Kansas (26-4, 14-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 10
Last week’s results: Defeated Iowa State 108-96 (OT), defeated West Virginia 91-65, defeated Texas Tech 79-42
This week: Texas Tech, at Baylor
Buzz: We still can’t believe this team lost to TCU.

8. Louisville (24-5, 13-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 12
Last week’s results: Defeated DePaul 79-58, defeated Syracuse 58-53, defeated Cincinnati 67-51
This week: Notre Dame
Buzz: The Cardinals are playing well at the right time of year.

9. Michigan State (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 9
Last week’s results: Lost to Michigan 58-57
This week: Wisconsin, Northwestern
Buzz: Spartans need Keith Appling to play well to survive in March.

10. Florida (23-5, 13-3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Last week’s results: Lost to Tennessee 64-58, defeated Alabama 64-52
This week: Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Buzz: Injuries have been a factor in Gators’ recent struggles.

11. Kansas State (24-5, 13-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Defeated Baylor 64-61
This week: TCU, at Oklahoma State
Buzz: Rodney McGruder came through in the clutch in Waco.

12. Oklahoma State (22-6, 12-4 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 14
Last week’s results: Defeated TCU 64-47, defeated Texas 78-65
This week: at Iowa State, Kansas State
Buzz: Marcus is the Smart choice for Freshman of the Year.

13. New Mexico (25-4, 12-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 16
Last week’s results: Defeated San Diego State 70-60, Wyoming 53-42
This week: at Nevada, at Air Force
Buzz: Red-hot Lobos have clinched the outright MWC title.

14. Syracuse (22-7, 10-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Lost to Louisville 58-53
This week: DePaul, at Georgetown
Buzz: Orange attack has been offensive during recent three-game slide.

15. Ohio State (21-7, 11-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 15
Last week’s results: Defeated Northwestern 63-53
This week: at Indiana, Illinois
Buzz: Bucks finally have more than one double-digit scorer.

16. Marquette (21-7, 12-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 17
Last week’s results: Defeated Notre Dame 72-64
This week: at Rutgers, at St. John’s
Buzz: Buzz Williams working miracles in Milwaukee once again.

17. Saint Louis (23-5, 12-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 20
Last week’s results: Defeated St. Joseph’s 70-53, defeated George Washington 66-58
This week: at Xavier, La Salle
Buzz: Jim Crews hoping to make this a permanent gig.

18. UCLA (22-7, 12-4 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Arizona State 79-74 (OT), defeated Arizona 74-69
This week: at Washington, at Washington State
Buzz: Bruins hit the road for key games in Washington.

19. Oregon (23-6, 12-4 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Oregon State 85-75
This week: at Colorado, at Utah
Buzz: Dominic Artis’ return boosts Ducks’ postseason hopes.

20. Notre Dame (22-7, 10-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 21
Last week’s results: Lost to Marquette 72-64
This week: St. John’s, at Louisville
Buzz: Jack Cooley only player in Big East averaging a double-double.

21. Pittsburgh (23-7, 11-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 22
Last week’s results: Defeated USF 64-44, defeated Villanova 73-64 (OT)
This week: at DePaul
Buzz: Pitt tops Villanova in its final home game in the Big East.

22. Arizona (23-6, 11-6 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 7
Last week’s results: Lost to USC 89-78, lost to UCLA 74-69
This week: Arizona State
Buzz: Cats having trouble scratching out wins these days. 

23. North Carolina (21-8, 11-5 ACC)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Clemson 68-59, defeated Florida State 79-58
This week: at Maryland, Duke
Buzz: Small ball working wonders for Roy Williams’ team.

24. Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 19
Last week’s results: Defeated Nebraska 77-46, lost to Purdue 69-56
This week: at Michigan State, at Penn State
Buzz: Senior Night sadness as Badgers lose to Purdue.

25. VCU (23-6, 11-3 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Butler 84-52
This week: Richmond, at Temple
Buzz:Rams wreak havoc on overwhelmed Butler.

Out: No. 18 Memphis, No. 23 Colorado State, No. 24 Butler, No. 25 Connecticut

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Power Rankings: Gonzaga takes top spot</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 09:51
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/ncaa-tournament-projections-and-bubble-watch
Body:

Selection Sunday is just a few weeks away, and the picture for who’s in and who’s out of the NCAA Tournament is becoming more clear.

In general, most of the 68 spots are fairly certain. Of the 32 conferences, we’ve tabbed 20 as being one-bid leagues, determined solely by conference tournaments. On the other end of the spectrum, at least 30 teams are safely in the field barring a total collapse between now and March 17.

That leaves the bubble, where every win and loss is magnified and every result from November and December takes on a renewed significance.

Here’s our look at the NCAA Tournament field for 2013. This is not intended to be a prediction, per se, but a snapshot at how the field may look right now.

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET PROJECTIONS: FEB. 28

TOP FOUR SEEDS
Indiana
Duke
Gonzaga
Kansas

ACC (5)
In: Duke, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia
Worth a mention: Florida State, Maryland
Bubble notes: There hasn't been a ton of movement in the ACC of late. Virginia remains an interesting case study: The Cavs have a low RPI (65) and some very bad losses (six to teams ranked 120 or lower), but they have three top -25 wins (including one at Wisconsin) and are 6–2 vs. top-100 teams. UVa hosts Duke Thursday night. Maryland has one great win (vs. Duke at home), but only two other top-100 wns. The Terps' "best" win away from home is at Northwestern (RPI 133). Other than a season sweep of Maryland, Florida State is running low on quality ACC wins.

Atlantic 10 (5)
In: Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU
Worth a mention: Charlotte, UMass, Xavier
Bubble notes: Temple rebounded from its crushing loss at home to Duquesne (RPI 215) by beating UMass and Charlotte on the road and La Salle at home. That's three top-65 wins to pad the Owls' profile. La Salle has a lofty RPI (35) and wins over Butler (RPI 27) and at VCU (RPI 34). UMass has hurt its chances over the last week with losses at VCU, at home vs. Temple and at St. Bonaventure. Xavier has four top-40 wins — but they are all at home — and five losses to teams ranked 135 or lower. The Musketeers are playing well of late but have too many warts on their resume. Charlotte has played its way out of the picture by losing five of its last six.

Big 12 (5)
In: Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Worth a mention: Baylor
Bubble notes: Poor Iowa State. The Cyclones are so close to being an absolute lock. They have two painful losses in overtime to Kansas, a two-point loss at Oklahoma State and a three-point overtime loss at Texas. Iowa State only has two top-50 RPI wins (a low number for a team in a league projected to send at least five teams to the NCAAs), and both came at home. The loss at Texas Tech is troubling. As we've stated before, Baylor has a roster that is could enough to be in the NCAA Tournament, but the Bears' resume is lacking. They are 2–7 vs. top-50 teams and 4–9 vs. top-100 teams. Also, they have losses at home to Northwestern (RPI 133) and College of Charleston (150). Baylor might sneak in with home wins over Kansas State and Kansas in the final two weeks of the regular season. 

Big East (8)
In: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova
Worth a mention: St. John’s
Bubble notes: It's tough to keep Villanova, which lost at Seton Hall, in the field this week, but it's also tough to keep out a team that has four top-35 RPI wins. The Wildcats will be in decent shape if they can split their final two regular-season games — at Pitt, vs. Georgetown. Cincinnati is struggling, with four straight losses and six in their last seven games. Only one of the losses, however, is to a team ranked outside the top-40 of the RPI — and that game was Providence, which is playing very well of late. The Bearcats are hanging their hat on three top-50 wins, two away from home, and no bad losses. St. John's has some decent wins (at Cincinnati, vs. Notre Dame, vs. UConn), but the Red Storm's RPI is 61, and they have three losses to sub-100 RPI teams. 

Big Ten (7)
In: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Worth a mention: Iowa
Bubble notes: Iowa was in the midst of mounting a late-season charge to the NCAA Tournament until the Hawkeyes lost at Nebraska 64–60 last weekend. They bounced back to beat Purdue on Wednesday, but this team still has a long way to go. With an RPI of 90, a non-conference strength of schdule of 321 and an overall record of 18–10, Iowa is in a tough spot. Win at Indiana this weekend and then we have something to talk about. Minnesota stopped the bleeding (four losses in five games) with a huge win over Indian on Wednesday. The Gophers' remaining schedule is soft by Big Ten standards — Penn State, at Nebraska and at Purdue. Barring an implosion, the Gophers are in great shape. 

Conference USA (1)
In: Memphis
Worth a mention: Southern Miss
Bubble notes: Southern Miss lost its only hope for an at-large bid by losing at Memphis last weekend. The Golden Eagles, with no top-80 wins, will need to win the C-USA Tournament. 

Missouri Valley (2)
In: Creighton, Wichita State
Worth a mention: Indiana State, Northern Iowa
Bubble notes: Creighton, with an RPI of 44 and three top-50 wins (two away from home), is still in decent shape, but the Bluejays missed a great opportunity with last weekend's loss at Saint Mary's. Indiana State had been flirting with a spot in the Tournament, but the Sycamores’ recent skid (four losses in their last five games) will be tough to overcome. Indiana State lost to RPI No. 212 Missouri State on Feb. 12 and No. 172 Bradley. Northern Iowa was building some late-season momentum (six straight wins), but the Pantheres lost at home to Denver last week in a BracketBusters game. They have no shot an at-large.

Mountain West (5)
In: Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Worth a mention: Air Force
Bubble notes: At first glance, Boise State might not have the most impressive profile, but keep in mind that this team has winning record in the nation's No. 2 RPI conference. The Broncos beat UNLV at home and won at Creighton — though that win isn't quite as impressive now. Air Force, too, has a winning record in the Mountain West, though the Falcons still have to visit San Diego State and play New Mexico State home. Their RPI is 64, 17 spots lower than Boise State's.

Pac-12 (5)
In: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Worth a mention: Arizona State, Stanford
Bubble notes: Arizona State was one of the final teams out this week. The Sun Devils have lost two straight, vs. Washington and at UCLA to fall to 9–7 in the league and drop their RPI to 88. They have four top-50 wins but two losses vs. teams ranked 175 or lower. They have a great chance to pick up a marquee win in their regular-season finale on March 9 at Arizona. Stanford played its way into the discussion a few weeks ago but has since lost four of five and five of seven. The home loss to USC on Feb. 14 was very damaging. With an RPI of 68 and 13 losses, the Cardinal will now need to win the Pac-12 Tournament. California has been playing very well. The Golden Bears have won five straight and now have four top-50 wins (including two on the road) on their resume. This team is in great shape. 

SEC (3)
In: Florida, Kentucky, Missouri
Worth a mention: Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee
Bubble notes: The SEC is a mess. The league could end up with two teams — or five teams. Kentucky picked up a huge win at home over Missouri on Saturday night, but we still don't know how good this team can be without Nerlens Noel. The Wildcats only have one top-50 win. That's not good. What is good, however, is that UK has no bad losses. Tennessee, like last year, is making a late charge. The Volunteers' RPI is up to 51, and they now have three wins vs. top-50 teams. All three wins, however, are at home. Their best win away from home is against UMass (RPI 57) on a neutral court. Ole Miss beat Texas A&M at home on Wednesday night to improve to 10–5 in the league, but the Rebels still have work to do. They only have on top-50 win, though that number could be bumped to three if Tennessee (RPI 51) keeps winning. Ole Miss swept the Vols. The Rebs' RPI (currently 56) might not climb too much even if they win out. The schedule features Mississippi State (RPI 238), Alabama (62) and LSU (91). Alabama has a gaudy league record (11–4) but that was padded with a lot games vs. the bottom half of the league. The Tide's RPI is 62, and they have four losses to sub-RPI 100 teams (three at home). Arkansas should be mentioned for its wins over Florida and Missouri in recent weeks, but the Razorbacks still have a low RPI (81) and a dismal road record (1-8).

West Coast (2)
In: Gonzaga, Saint Mary's
Worth a mention: BYU
Bubble notes: Saint Mary’s doesn't have much to excited about on its resume, but the Gaels also don't have many warts. Their RPI is solid (45), but they only have one top-100 win (Creighton). Saint Mary's can't do much to improve its standing the rest of the way (a win over Gonzaga would come in the WCC Championship Game, which would make the SMC an automatic qualifier). 

One-bid conference projections

Conference Projected winner Conference Projected winner
America East Stony Brook MEAC Norfolk State
Atlantic Sun Mercer Northeast Robert Morris
Big Sky Montana Ohio Valley Belmont
Big South Charleston Southern Patriot Bucknell
Big West Long Beach State Southern Davidson
Colonial Northeastern Southland Stephen F. Austin
Horizon Valparaiso Summit North Dakota State
Ivy Harvard Sun Belt Middle Tennessee
MAAC Niagara SWAC Southern
MAC Akron WAC Louisiana Tech

Teaser:
<p> NCAA Tournament Projections and Bubble Watch: Kentucky sneaks in.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 09:45
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-power-rankings-gonzaga-georgetown-make-moves
Body:

For most of the season, the college basketball power rankings have been fairly consistent at the top: Two or three teams from the Big Ten, a team or two from the state of Florida, maybe Duke and/or Kansas every now and then.

Some of those trends remained true this week with Indiana and Michigan taking the top two spots and Miami sitting at No. 5. But the top four has a few newcomers.

After defeating Syracuse on the road, Georgetown shot up our rankings from No. 14 to No. 4. Beyond the rare win for a visiting team in the Carrier Dome, the Hoyas have won nine in a row since a perplexing loss to USF on Jan. 19. On Georgetown’s resume are wins over Notre Dame and Cincinnati on the road and Marquette and Louisville at home.

Making a smaller move, yet important nonetheless, is Gonzaga, moving up to No. 3. Mark Few's Bulldogs are making a case to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by reeling off 10 consecutive wins since the buzzer-beating loss to Butler on Jan. 19. The Zags haven’t played a game decided by single digits since defeating San Diego 65-63 on Feb. 2.

Related: Key stats from Feb. 18-24

COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS: FEB. 26

1. Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 1
Last week’s results: Defeated Michigan State 72-68
This week: Iowa
Buzz: The Hoosiers lead the nation in offensive efficiency.

2. Michigan (23-4, 10-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 4
Last week’s results: Defeated Illinois 71-58
This week: at Penn State, Michigan State
Buzz: Trey Burke was at his best in big win over Illinois.

3. Gonzaga (27-2, 14-0 West Coast Conference)
Last week’s rank: 6
Last week’s results: Defeated Santa Clara 85-42, defeated San Diego 81-50
This week: at BYU, Portland
Buzz: The Zags are becoming a strong contender for their first No. 1 seed.

4. Georgetown (21-4, 11-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 14
Last week’s results: Defeated DePaul 90-66, defeated Syracuse 57-46
This week: at Connecticut, Rutgers
Buzz: The Hoyas have road wins over Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Syracuse.

5. Miami (22-4, 13-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 2
Last week’s results: Defeated Virginia 54-50, lost to Wake Forest 80-65
This week: Virginia Tech, at Duke
Buzz: Despite loss to Wake Forest, the Hurricanes still control their own destiny in the ACC.

6. Duke (24-3, 11-3 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Last week’s results: Defeated Virginia Tech 88-56, defeated Boston College 89-68
This week: at Virginia, Miami
Buzz: Rasheed Sulaimon erupted for 27 against Boston College after scoring four points in the first meeting.

7. Arizona (23-4, 11-4 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 11
Last week’s results: Defeated Washington 70-52, defeated Washington State 73-56
This week: at USC, at UCLA
Buzz: Kevin Parrom scored a season-high 19 points vs. Washington State.

8. Florida (22-4, 12-2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week’s results: Lost to Missouri 63-60, defeated Arkansas 71-54
This week: at Tennessee, Alabama
Buzz: The Gators are closing on their fourth outright SEC title in school history. 

9. Michigan State (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 3
Last week’s results: Lost to Indiana 72-68, lost to Ohio State 68-60
This week: at Michigan, Wisconsin
Buzz: Michigan State succeeded in containing Deshaun Thomas, but not Aaron Craft.

10. Kansas (24-4, 12-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 9
Last week’s results: Defeated Oklahoma State 68-67 (2OT), defeated TCU 74-48, defeated Iowa State 108-96 (OT)
This week: West Virginia
Buzz: Will Elijah Johnson shed criticism after 39 points against Iowa State?

11. Syracuse (22-6, 10-5 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Last week’s results: Defeated Providence 84-59, lost to Georgetown 57-46, lost to Marquette 74-71
This week: Louisville
Buzz: The Orange have lost five of their last nine. 

12. Louisville (22-5, 10-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 10
Last week’s results: Defeated Seton Hall 79-61
This week: at DePaul, at Syracuse
Buzz: A tough closing stretch (Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame) awaits the Cards.

13. Kansas State (23-5, 12-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 12
Last week’s results: Defeated Texas 81-69, defeated Texas Tech 75-55
This week: at Baylor
Buzz: The Wildcats are eyeing their first league title since 1977.

14. Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Lost to Kansas 68-67 (2OT), defeated West Virginia 73-57
This week: at TCU, Texas
Buzz: Almost a quarter of Pokes’ points come from the free throw line.

15. Ohio State (20-7, 10-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 17
Last week’s results: Defeated Minnesota 71-45, defeated Michigan State 68-60
This week: at Northwestern
Buzz: Defeating Michigan State was a major statement win for the Buckeyes.

16. New Mexico (23-4, 10-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 22
Last week’s results: Defeated Colorado State 91-82
This week: San Diego State, Wyoming
Buzz: The Lobos seized control of MWC with huge win at Colorado State.

17. Marquette (20-7, 11-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 15
Last week’s results: Defeated Seton Hall 67-46, lost to Villanova 60-56, defeated Syracuse 74-71.
This week: Notre Dame
Buzz: The Big East title still alive after Monday win over Syracuse.

18. Memphis (24-3, 13-0 Conference USA)
Last week’s rank: 21
Last week’s results: Defeated Houston 81-74, defeated Southern Miss 89-73
This week: at Xavier, at UCF
Buzz: The Tigers are closing on 16–0 run through Conference USA.

19. Wisconsin (19-8, 10-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 16
Last week’s results: Defeated Northwestern 69-41
This week: Nebraska, Purdue
Buzz:The Badgers haven’t lost a game in regulation since Jan. 29.

20. Saint Louis (21-5, 10-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 24
Last week’s results: Defeated VCU 76-62, defeated Butler 65-61
This week: St. Joseph’s, at George Washington
Buzz: The Billikens all alone in first place in the Atlantic 10.

21. Notre Dame (22-6, 10-5 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 25
Last week’s results: Defeated Cincinnati 62-41
This week: at Marquette
Buzz: Jack Cooley averaging a double-double for steady Irish.

22. Pittsburgh (21-7, 9-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 20
Last week’s results: Defeated St. John’s 63-47
This week: USF, Villanova
Buzz: Panthers’ leading scorer Tray Woodall averaging only 10.9 ppg.

23. Colorado State (21-6, 8-4 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 19
Last week’s results: Lost to UNLV 61-59, lost to New Mexico 91-82
This week: Fresno State, at Boise State
Buzz: The Rams’ chance at a MWC title likely ended with two losses last week.

24. Butler (22-6, 9-4 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 18
Last week’s results: Defeated Duquesne 68-49, lost to Saint Louis 65-61
This week: at VCU
Buzz: The Bulldogs are finding A-10 grind a bit tougher than Horizon. 

25. Connecticut (19-7, 9-5 Big East)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Cincinnati 73-66 (OT), defeated DePaul 81-69
This week: Georgetown, at Cincinnati
Buzz: Kevin Ollie proving he is the right man for the job.

Out: No. 23 VCU

Teaser:
<p> Neither Gonzaga nor Georgetown have lost since Jan. 19, both enter top five of our power rankings.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 09:40
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-power-rankings-indiana-michigan-state-square-top-three-matchup
Body:

Another week, another Big Ten showdown with national implications.

With a five-game win streak including last week’s 75-52 rout of Michigan, Michigan State has gone from sneaky Final Four contender to potential No. 1 seed. The Spartans, who moved from No. 9 to No. 3 in our rankings this week, will have their chance to test that in their second meeting with Indiana this season.

On Tuesday, Michigan State will face Indiana for the conference lead in yet another Big Ten game of national significance. The Spartans lost to Indiana 75-70 on Jan. 27 in Bloomington.

Beyond Michigan State and Indiana tied for Big Ten supremacy, other conference races were shook up by last week's action: Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State are tied for the Big 12 lead. Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette are in their own three-way tie in the Big East.

Elsewhere in this week’s power rankings, two Atlantic 10 teams entered the top 25 with VCU at No. 23 and Saint Louis in No. 24. Both have a chance to strengthen their cases when they meet Tuesday. Saint Louis also visits Butler this week.

Related: Key stats from Feb. 11-17

COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS: FEB. 19

1. Indiana (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 1
Last week’s results: Defeated Nebraska 76-47, defeated Purdue 83-55
This week: at Michigan State
Buzz: The Hoosiers swept rival Purdue by a combined 65 points this season.

2. Miami (21-3, 12-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Last week’s results: Defeated Florida State 74-68, defeated Clemson 45-43
This week: Virginia, at Wake Forest
Buzz: The Hurricanes eked past Clemson on Sunday night to extend winning streak to 13 games. 

3. Michigan State (22-4, 11-2 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 9
Last week’s results: Defeated Michigan 75-52, defeated Nebraska 73-64
This week: Indiana, at Ohio State
Buzz: The surging Spartans can start thinking about a No. 1 seed.

4. Michigan (22-4, 9-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 2
Last week’s results: Lost to Michigan State 72-52, defeated Penn State 79-71
This week: Illinois
Buzz: Trey Burke is averaging 7.0 assists and only 1.9 turnovers per game.

5. Florida (21-3, 11-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Last week’s results: Defeated Kentucky 69-52, defeated Auburn 83-52
This week: at Missouri, Arkansas
Buzz: The Gators’ closest SEC win? By 14 points over Ole Miss.

6. Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0 West Coast Conference)
Last week’s rank: 7
Last week’s results: Defeated Saint Mary’s 77-60, defeated San Francisco 71-61
This week: Santa Clara, San Diego
Buzz: Gonzaga emerges from week on the road with nation-leading 25 wins.

7. Syracuse (21-4, 9-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week’s results: Lost to Connecticut 66-58, defeated Seton Hall 76-65
This week: Providence, Georgetown
Buzz: The Orange rank 239th in nation in 3-point shooting (32.3 percent).

8. Duke (22-3, 9-3 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Last week’s results: Defeated North Carolina 73-68, lost to Maryland 83-81
This week: at Virginia Tech, Boston College
Buzz: Maryland shot 60 percent from the floor in win over Duke.

9. Kansas (21-4, 9-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 10
Last week’s results: Defeated Texas 73-47
This week: at Oklahoma State, TCU
Buzz: Redemption week upcoming for Kansas, but the Big 12 lead is also on the line.

10. Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 11
Last week’s results: Defeated St. John’s 72-58, defeated USF 59-41
This week: Seton Hall
Buzz: The Cardinals gave up a total of 79 points in two games against USF.

11. Arizona (21-4, 9-4 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 6
Last week’s results: Lost to Colorado 71-58, defeated Utah 68-64
This week: Washington, Washington State
Buzz: Wildcats needed win at Utah to snap a two-game losing streak. 

12. Kansas State (21-5, 10-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 12
Last week’s results: Defeated Baylor 81-61, defeated West Virginia 71-61
This week: at Texas
Buzz: Only two Wildcats average more than 8.3 points per game.

13. Oklahoma State (19-5, 9-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 16
Last week’s results: Defeated Texas Tech 91-67, defeated Oklahoma 84-79 (OT)
This week: Kansas, at West Virginia
Buzz: Marcus Smart is thriving in a leading role as a freshman.

14. Georgetown (19-4, 9-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 17
Last week’s results: Defeated Cincinnati 62-55
This week: DePaul, at Syracuse
Buzz: The surprising Hoyas move into a three-way tie for first in the Big East.

15. Marquette (18-6, 9-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 20
Last week’s results: Defeated Pittsburgh 79-69
This week: at Seton Hall, at Villanova
Buzz: The Eagles improved to 14–0 at home with win over Pitt.

16. Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 18
Last week’s results: Lost to Minnesota 58-53 (OT), defeated Ohio State 71-49
This week: at Northwestern
Buzz: Closing Big Ten schedule favors Wisconsin.

17. Ohio State (18-7, 8-5 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Defeated Northwestern 69-69, lost to Wisconsin 71-49
This week: Minnesota, Michigan State
Buzz: The Buckeyes’ 49 points against Wisconsin was a season low.

18. Butler (21-5, 8-3 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 15
Last week’s results: Lost to Charlotte 71-67, defeated Fordham 68-63
This week: Duquesne, Saint Louis
Buzz: Bulldogs are one game back in the chase for the A-10 title.

19. Colorado State (21-4, 8-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 22
Last week’s results: Defeated San Diego State 66-60, defeated Air Force 89-86
This week: at UNLV, New Mexico
Buzz: This could be a make-or-break week for Colorado State’s goals of winning the Mountain West

20. Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 14
Last week’s results: Lost to Marquette 79-69, lost to Notre Dame 51-42
This week: at St. John’s
Buzz: The Panthers' hot streak has come to a halt, but the remaining schedule isn't daunting.

21. Memphis (22-3, 11-0 Conference USA)
Last week’s rank: 24
Last week’s results: Defeated UCF 93- 71, defeated Marshall 71-59
This week: Houston, Southern Miss
Buzz: The Tigers’ C-USA’s foes are shooting only 40.8 percent on two-pointers. 

22. New Mexico (21-4, 9-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 21
Last week’s results: Defeated Fresno State 54-48, defeated Boise State 60-50
This week: at Colorado State
Buzz: The Lobos are getting it done on the defensive end.

23. VCU (21-5, 9-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated UMass 86-88, defeated George Washington 84-57
This week: at Saint Louis, at Xavier
Buzz: The Rams steal the ball on 17.7 percent of opponents’ possessions.

24. Saint Louis (19-5, 8-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Charlotte 75-58
This week: VCU, Butler
Buzz: Billikens are riding a seven-game winning streak ahead of huge week against VCU and Butler.

25. Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 19
Last week’s results: Defeated DePaul 82-78 (OT), lost to Providence 71-54, defeated Pittsburgh 51-42
This week: Cincinnati
Buzz: Notre Dame started 1 of 19 from the field but still managed to beat Pitt on Monday night.

Out: No. 23 Cincinnati, No. 25 San Diego State

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Power Rankings: Indiana, Michigan State square for top three matchup</p>
Post date: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-bracket-projections-and-bubble-watch-feb-13
Body:

Selection Sunday is about a month away, and the picture for who’s in and who’s out of the NCAA Tournament is becoming more clear.

In general, most of the 68 spots are fairly certain. Of the 32 conferences, we’ve tabbed 20 as being one-bid leagues, determined solely by conference tournaments. On the other end of the spectrum, at least 30 teams are safely in the field barring a total collapse between now and March 17.

That leaves the bubble, where every win and loss is magnified and every result from November and December takes on a renewed significance.

Here’s our look at the NCAA Tournament field for 2013. This is not intended to be a prediction, per se, but a snapshot at how the field may look right now.

We looked at RPI, strength of schedule, good wins and bad losses in our projections. You will also see references to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. The selection committee does not use them as a reference, but we include them as an added resource.

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET PROJECTIONS: FEB. 14

TOP FOUR SEEDS
Indiana 
Miami
Duke
Michigan

ACC (5)
In: Duke, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia
Worth a mention: Florida State, Maryland
Bubble notes: Virginia is new to the field this week. The Cavs have one horrible loss, to Old Dominion (RPI 314), and five other losses to team ranked lower than 100 in the RPI, but this team has played very well since league play began and also has a win at Wisconsin (RPI 33). Virginia's RPI is troubling (71), but we are willing to overlook as long as the Cavs keep playing well. North Carolina is in the field, but the Tar Heels don't have too much to brag about other than a solid RPI (36) and a win at home over UNLV (RPI 25). It helps that five of their seven losses came against tems ranked in the top 20 in the RPI. 

Atlantic 10 (5)
In: Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU
Worth a mention: Charlotte, UMass, Xavier
Bubble notes: No changes in the A-10 this week. UMass is getting close. The Minutemen have won four of five to improve to 6–3 in the league. They do, however, only have one top-75 RPI win, at No. 32 La Salle. Charlotte is making a late charge. The 49ers' RPI is up to 48 after Wednesday's huge win at Butler. They now have three top-50 wins and only of their losses, at George Washington is to a team outside the top 100. Temple has played three straight one-point games, with wins over Dayton and Charlotte and a loss to Saint Joseph's. The Owls' December win vs. Syracuse at MSG will keep them in the field barring a collapse. Saint Louis, with six straight wins, is in good shape. The Billikens will have an opportunity to improve their seed in the next few weeks, with a home game vs. VCU and a trip to Butler. 

Related: Key games with postseason implications to watch this week

Big 12 (6)
In: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Worth a mention: None
Bubble notes: Baylor has won two straight, but those have come against Texas Tech and West Virginia at home. Beginning on Saturday, the Bears have a three-game stretch with games at Kansas State, at home vs. Iowa State and at Oklahoma. They might need to win two of those three. Currently, Scott Drew's team has two top-50 RPI wins and has losses at home to Northwestern (RPI 98) and College of Charleston (RPI 140). Iowa State remained in the field desite losing at Texas (in overtime) on Wednesday night. The Cyclones still don't have a win away from home vs. a top-150 team. The do have two top-25 home wins and five of  their eight losses have come against teams ranked in the top 40.

Related: This week's college basketball power rankings

Big East (7)
In: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Worth a mention: St. John’s, Villanova
Bubble notes: Outside of that magical five-day stretch when Villanova beat Louisville and Syracuse, this team has done nothing to suggest its NCAA Tournament-worthy. They only have two other top-100 RPI wins, vs. St. John's (RPI 54) and Saint Joseph's (RPI 84). Their best road win is at No. 122 South Florida. St. John's is hanging around. The Red Storm have three top-50 wins, highlighted by the Jan. 5 vicory at Cincinnati. They already have nine losses, including two bad ones — at San Francisco (RPI 129) and vs. UNC Asheville (162).

Big Ten (7)
In: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Worth a mention: Iowa
Bubble notes: Illinois solidified its resume with two huge wins last week, vs. Indiana and at Minnesota. The Fighting Illini are only 4–7 in the Big Ten, but they have a strong RPI (27) and five top-25 wins, including three away from home. Minnesota continues to struggle — the Gophers have lost six of eight — but is still in solid shape. Tubby Smith's club has three top-35 wins and six of its seven losses have come against top-35 RPI teams. Iowa is 15–9 overall and 4–7 in the Big Ten, but the Hawkeyes' schedule softens up down the stretch. Don't be surprised if this team plays its way into the field. 

Related: Key stats from Feb. 4-10

Conference USA (1)
In: Memphis
Worth a mention: Southern Miss
Bubble notes: Southern Miss beat Tulane on Wednesday to improve to 16–6 vs. Division I teams, but the Golden Eagles have no top-100 wins. They will have to win the league tournament. 

Missouri Valley (2)
In: Creighton, Wichita State
Worth a mention: Indiana State,
Bubble notes: Indiana State will have one of the strangest resumes in recent memory. The Sycamores have four top-50 wins and four losses vs. teams ranked 150 or lower. That is hard to do. Their loss at Bradley on Tuesday knocked them out of the field for the week. Creighton is trending in the wrong direction. The Bluejays have lost three straight and now have five losses in the Valley. Their RPI is still solid, and they have still highly ranked by KenPom.com (23) and ESPN's BPI (18). 

Mountain West (5)

In: Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Worth a mention: Air Force, Wyoming
Bubble notes: Boise State is playing good basketball — the Broncos sandwiched wins vs. UNLV and Wyoming around a one-point loss at San Diego State — and snuck back into the field this week. They have an opportunity to solidify their resume this weekend at New Mexico, and still have dates with Colorado State at home and at UNLV. Wyoming has two solid wins (Colorado and San Diego State, both at home), but the Cowobys are 3–7 in the Mountain West. They need to finish strong. 

Pac-12 (4)
In: Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Worth a mention: Arizona State, Cal, Stanford
Bubble notes: Colorado has solidfied its resume in the past few weeks with five wins in its last six games. The Buffaloes, coming off wins at Oregon and Oregon State, have a rock-solid RPI of 18. Arizona State played its way out of the field this week by losing at Utah. The Sun Devils have lost three of four and don't have any top-150 wins on the road. They do, however, play four of their final six games on the road — which could be good (if they win some) or bad (if they play their way out of the field). Stanford is making a late charge. The Cardinal have won four of five to improve to 6–5 in the league. They don't, however, have many quality wins — only one vs. a top-50 team (Oregon at home without Dominic Artis). Stanford can pad its resume in the next two weeks with a win at home vs. UCLA and at Oregon on Feb. 23. Cal deserves to be in the discussion after its upset win at Arizona last weekend. If the Bears (RPI 61, BPI 57) sweep UCLA and USC this weekend, they could sneak into the field.

SEC (4)
In: Florida, Kentucky Ole Miss, Missouri
Worth a mention: Alabama
Bubble notes: Kentucky was seemingly in great shape after winning five-straight games, but the Wildcats could be in a bit of trouble now that Nerlens Noel is out of action. Also, their "quality" win at Ole Miss doesn't look as impressive now. The Rebels have lost four of their last five and are playing their way back to the bubble. They only have one top-50 RPI win, but still have decent compture numbers (RPI 51, BPI 34, KenPom 37). Alabama has an impressive league record (8–3), but only one of those eight wins has come against a team ranked higher than 75 in the RPI. The Crimson Tide have to keep on winning to remain in the discussion.

West Coast (2)
In: Gonzaga, Saint Mary's
Worth a mention: BYU
Bubble notes: Saint Mary’s has a great opportunity to solidify its spot in the field on Thursday night when Gonzaga comes to town. If the Gaels lose that game, they figure to be sweating on Selection Sunday.

One-bid conference projections

Conference Projected winner Conference Projected winner
America East Stony Brook MEAC Norfolk State
Atlantic Sun Florida Gulf Coast Northeast Bryant
Big Sky Montana Ohio Valley Belmont
Big South UNC-Asheville Patriot Bucknell
Big West Long Beach State Southern Davidson
Colonial Northeastern Southland Stephen F. Austin
Horizon Valparaiso Summit Western Illinois
Ivy Harvard Sun Belt Middle Tennessee
MAAC Niagara SWAC Southern
MAC Akron WAC Louisiana Tech



 

Teaser:
<p> With Selection Sunday about a month away, Athlon Sports projects the field for the NCAA Tournament, conference by conference</p>
Post date: Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-power-rankings-indiana-splits-week-stays-top
Body:

The fun water cooler debate of the top teams in college basketball keeps going.

Each of Athlon’s top four teams from last week took a loss last week. Kansas took two. Our No. 6 team from last week, Duke, had a near-miss against lowly Boston College. The changes at the top each week make rankings these teams difficult -- never mind the teams in the No. 20-25 range.

In other words, the NCAA Tournament selection committee will have some tough work ahead.

But we have to take a stand this week in our power rankings.

We kept Indiana and Michigan at Nos. 1-2 despite their losses last week. The Hoosiers lost on a broken defensive play at Illinois, and the Wolverines lost to Wisconsin in overtime thanks to a miracle shot at the end of regulation from Ben Brust.

Miami, which we ranked third, has a compelling case to be No. 1, but the Hurricanes aren’t rolling through the typical North Carolina teams. The Big Ten gauntlet is a bit of an equalizer between Miami and the top-ranked teams in the Big Ten.

Related: Key stats from Feb. 4-10

COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS: FEB. 12

1. Indiana (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 1
Last week’s results: Lost to Illinois 74-72, defeated Ohio State 81-68
This week: Nebraska, Purdue
Buzz: Convincing win at Buckeyes counters late collapse at Illinois to keep Hoosiers at No. 1.

2. Michigan (21-3, 8-3 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 2
Last week’s results: Defeated Ohio State 76-74 (OT), lost to Wisconsin 65-62
This week: Ohio State, at Wisconsin
Buzz: Michigan is 0-2 when Trey Burke takes 20 or more shots from the field (Indiana, Wisconsin).

3. Miami (19-3, 10-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week’s results: Defeated Boston College 72-50, North Carolina 87-61
This week: at Florida State, at Clemson
Buzz: The Hurricanes’ undefeated start against ACC foes includes 4-0 mark against North Carolina, Duke and NC State.

4. Duke (21-2, 8-2 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Last week’s results: Defeated NC State 98-85, defeated Boston College 62-61
This week: North Carolina, at Maryland
Buzz: The Blue Devils dodged an embarrassing loss to Boston College to maintain five-game winning streak.

5. Syracuse (20-3, 8-2 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Last week’s results: Defeated Notre Dame 63-47, defeated St. John’s 77-58
This week: at Connecticut, at Seton Hall
Buzz: James Southerland’s return (13 points) boosts Orange past St. John’s.

6. Arizona (20-3, 8-3 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 9
Last week’s results: Defeated Stanford 73-66, lost to Cal 77-69
This week: at Colorado, at Utah
Buzz: The Wildcats had a case to be No. 1 … before losing to Cal.

7. Gonzaga (23-2, 10-0 West Coast Conference)
Last week’s rank: 8
Last week’s results: Defeated Pepperdine 82-56, defeated Loyola Marymount
This week: at Saint Mary’s, at San Francisco
Buzz: Regular season West Coast Conference title will be easier to win if Zags defeat the Gaels on Thursday.

8. Florida (19-3, 9-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Last week’s results: Lost to Arkansas 80-69, defeated Mississippi State 83-58
This week: Kentucky, at Auburn
Buzz: The Gators won’t get through the SEC unscathed, but is the door open for a hot Kentucky team to swipe the conference title?

9. Michigan State (20-4, 9-2 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 11
Last week’s results: Defeated Minnesota 61-50, defeated Purdue 78-65
This week: Michigan, at Nebraska
Buzz: Guess who’s tied for first in the Big Ten? Sparty.

10. Kansas (19-4, 7-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 4
Last week’s results: Lost to TCU 62-55, lost to Oklahoma 72-66, defeated Kansas State 83-62
This week: Texas
Buzz: KU displaying serious point guard issues during three-game losing streak that ended with rout of K-State on Monday.

11. Louisville (19-5, 7-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 10
Last week’s results: Defeated Rutgers 68-48, lost to Notre Dame 104-101 (5OT)
This week: St. John’s, at USF
Buzz: After home date with St. John’s, Louisville faces easy part of Big East schedule against USF, Seton Hall and DePaul.

12. Kansas State (19-5, 8-3 Pac-12)
Last week’s rank: 13
Last week’s results: Defeated Texas Tech 68-59, defeated Iowa State 79-70, lost to Kansas 83-62
This week: Baylor
Buzz: The Wildcats lost sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with Kansas, but final stretch is manageable before regular season final Oklahoma State.

13. Ohio State (17-6, 7-4 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 12
Last week’s results: Lost to Michigan 76-74 (OT), lost to Indiana 81-68
This week: Northwestern, at Wisconsin
Buzz: No shame in losing to Michigan and Indiana.

14. Pittsburgh (20-5, 8-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 18
Last week’s results: Defeated Cincinnati 62-52
This week: at Marquette
Buzz: Pittsburgh making a nice run in the Big East. Road trip to Marquette will show if Panthers can contend for title.

15. Butler (20-4, 7-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week’s rank: 16
Last week’s results: Defeated St. Bonaventure 77-58, defeated George Washington 59-56
This week: Charlotte, at Fordham
Buzz: Rotnei Clarke averaging 19 points per game since return from injury.

16. Oklahoma State (17-5, 7-3 Big 12)
Last week’s rank: 22
Last week’s results: Defeated Baylor 69-67 (OT), defeated Texas 72-59
This week: at Texas Tech, Oklahoma
Buzz: Freshman Marcus Smart leading red-hot Cowboys, who have won five in a row.

17. Georgetown (18-4, 8-3 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 19
Last week’s results: Defeated Rutgers 69-63, defeated Marquette 63-55
This week: at Cincinnati
Buzz: Otto Porter is averaging 17.8 points and 8.7 rebounds during the Hoyas' six-game win streak.

18. Wisconsin (17-7, 8-3 Big Ten)
Last week’s rank: 23
Last week’s results: Defeated Iowa 74-70 (2OT), defeated Michigan 62-62 (OT)
This week: at Minnesota, Ohio State
Buzz: Wisconsin’s homecourt magic works wonders in two overtime wins last week. Badgers have shot at Big Ten title.

19. Notre Dame (19-5, 7-4 Big East)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Louisville 104-101 (5OT)
This week: DePaul, at Providence
Buzz: Little-used Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman was the hero in OT against Louisville.

20. Marquette (17-6, 8-2 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 20
Last week’s results: Defeated USF 70-47, defeated DePaul 89-78, Lost to Georgetown 63-55
This week: Pittsburgh
Buzz: Marquette's last five wins are over teams not likely to make the NCAA Tournament: Seton Hall, Providence, USF (twice) and DePaul.

21. New Mexico (20-4, 7-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 14
Last week’s results: Defeated Air Force 81-58, lost to UNLV 64-55
This week: at Fresno State, Boise State
Buzz: The Lobos have averaged 44.5 points in two MWC losses.

22. Colorado State (19-4, 6-2 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: 25
Last week’s results: Defeated Nevada 73-69
This week: San Diego State, at Air Force
Buzz: The Rams are making a run at the Mountain West title. The two league losses are both on the road (San Diego State in overtime, New Mexico).

23. Cincinnati (18-6, 6-5 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 15
Last week’s results: Lost to Providence 54-50, lost to Pittsburgh 62-52
This week: Villanova, Georgetown
Buzz: The Bearcats a puzzling 2-3 at home in the Big East.

24. Memphis (20-3, 9-0 Conference USA)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated SMU 60-52, defeated Southern Miss 89-76
This week: UCF, at Marshall
Buzz: Memphis is 9-0 in C-USA for the first time since John Calipari’s last season after key win over Southern Miss.

25. San Diego State (18-5, 6-3 Mountain West)
Last week’s rank: NR
Last week’s results: Defeated Boise State 63-62, defeated 75-53
This week: at Colorado State, at UNLV
Buzz: The Aztecs can get back into MWC contention with strong showing on the road this week.

Out: No. 17 Minnesota, No. 21 Oregon, No. 24 Creighton

Teaser:
<p> Top teams are falling all across the country, but Big Ten giants and Miami stay the course in the power rankings.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 10:30

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